We have to admit that bed bugs are not exactly lovable creatures. Those reddish-brown insects are known to drink the blood of warm-blooded creatures such as humans. Because of their dorsoventrally flattened bodies, these wingless insects may hide in areas like carpets, beds, and upholstered furniture. That’s why exploring the bed bug life cycle is a subject of interest for enthusiasts in general.
This flat, reddish-brown, oval-shaped bug, which is about the size of an apple seed, has been an annoyance to people all around the world. Because bed bugs can live in any environment, they are frequently referred to as “bugs without borders.” All they need to survive is a population of nearby people to feed on. Let’s now examine the bed bug life cycle:
3 Stages of Bed Bug Life Cycle
The stages of development of bed bugs heavily depend on their habitat and eating habits. Generally, warm-blooded animals are the main source of food and nutrition for bed bugs. The scientific term for bed bugs is Cimex lectularius. As they feed on our blood while we sleep, bed bugs have everyone wondering where they are and how to get rid of them. Typically, they are dormant throughout the day and awake at night.
In its lifetime, a female bed bug may produce 200–250 eggs at a time. In 6–10 days, bed bug eggs will hatch, and the nymph bed bug will leave its burrow in search of its first blood meal before molting to the next stage. A bed bug’s nymph stage typically lasts a week, although it can last longer if it cannot locate a living host to feed on. The lifespan of mature bed bugs is typically 6 to 12 months.
Now let’s discuss the bed bug life cycle which consists of 3 stages: egg, nymph, and adulthood.
A grain-like, milky white egg is the first stage of the bed bug life cycle. Every day, female bed bugs deposit one to five eggs. Within narrow fissures or crevices, eggs are deposited individually or in groups. The egg is about the size of two grains of salt and is around 1 mm in length. The eggs hatch in two weeks and the young bed bugs start feeding right away.
These eggs will be laid throughout your property in cracks and crevices by the females. Typical locations are mattresses, between floors, and between skirting boards.
The nymph stage of the bed bug life cycle includes five molts. In the nymph stage of the bed bug life cycle, they resemble adults in appearance, but they are smaller and have immature sexual organs. Each nymph must consume blood to complete a stage of molting. At room temperature, nymphs molt and develop into adults in five weeks.
5 Phases Of Nymph Stage
As already mentioned above, nymphs go through five phases of development. Nymphs in the first molt are 1.5 millimeters long. They can begin eating as soon as they hatch out of their eggs. The bed bugs are still immature throughout this nymph stage of the bed bug life cycle, so they won’t start reproducing until they are fully grown.
A bed bug will develop into a second-stage nymph, which is around 2 millimeters long, after going through its first molt.
The third stage of bed bugs is when they molt once again. They measure around 2.5 millimeters in length at this time. Bed bugs now reach a length of 3 millimeters.
When they reach the last nymphal stage of the bed bug life cycle, bed bugs can grow to a length of 4.5 millimeters.
Adulthood is the last stage of the bed bug life cycle. When bed bugs reach adulthood, they start to feed more regularly, typically every 10 days. For those of us who are unfortunate enough to encounter a bed bug infestation at home or while traveling, this is awful news.
These small creatures have an extremely long lifespan because they may survive anywhere between 4-6 months and 18 months as adults. One of the reasons these bugs may be so challenging to get rid of is that females can lay anywhere from one to five eggs every day.
How Do Bed Bugs Behave Typically?
Due to their effectiveness as hitchhikers, bed bugs are frequently brought into homes on items including furniture, clothing, belongings, and baggage. Inns, houses, dorms, schools, shelters, and flats frequently experience this issue. Bed bugs lack wings; therefore, climbing and adhering to people or animals is the most effective way for them to travel across vast distances.
Bed bugs are resilient, tough insects. In various bed bug life cycles, especially nymphs and adults, they may go for months without eating. So it is often not a good idea to leave your house empty to starve out a bed bug infestation. If a bed bug-infested residence, such as an apartment, is empty, the bed bugs often scale back their activity or spread to the nearby flats.
They are most active at night or just before morning. Bed bugs like to hide around where people sleep during the day because they desire to remain close to their food supply. They will, however, travel great distances by crawling in search of food if required.
How Fast Do Bed Bugs Breed
It’s not always a pleasant thing to consider a growing bed bug population. It is crucial to bear in mind, nevertheless, that it is always preferable to control population growth before it spirals out of control. Before you know it, you might be dealing with a severe infestation. That is why it is important to know the stages of the bed bug life cycle.
The majority of people usually introduce bed bugs into their homes after visiting a hotel or another location where they were already present. One or more bugs can attach themselves to clothing or baggage and travel back to your house unnoticed.
Even if a small number of bugs are present, females have the capacity to lay one to five eggs every day. The eggs take about two weeks to hatch, and as soon as they do, the next stage of the bed bug life cycle begins. Immediately after this happens, the nymphs start biting hosts and consuming blood.
Within two or three months, there may be a huge population because it takes a first-stage nymph five weeks to grow into an adult capable of reproducing. Within six months, there may be tens of thousands of bed bugs in and around the house if no action is taken to control the infestation. Early detection is crucial because of this.
How Do Bed Bugs Feed On Humans?
Typically, adult bed bugs only need to eat once a week. But it actually depends on how big the population is. Although it is still a common misconception that bed bugs may go for up to a year without feeding, this is extremely unusual and rarely occurs. The bugs could survive a month or two without eating, depending on the temperature, and this is a normal part of the bed bug life cycle. This implies that even if you are on vacation for a week or more, the bed bugs will still be there when you return.
All of the bed bugs’ food is blood. It typically takes a bed bug five to ten minutes to finish its meal after biting your skin. You might not even notice the bite when it occurs since bed bugs are so small. You might not think anything is wrong until you start to get red lumps on your skin when you wake up.
Except if you are sensitive to bed bugs, these pimples can be unpleasant but generally do not represent a severe health risk. Most individuals find the bites to be mildly annoying, so they are easy to ignore.
However, as soon as you see the bumps, you must thoroughly search your bed and furnishings to find any bed bugs and deal with the problem. Even though getting rid of them might be a bother, doing so early on can save you time and money in the long run.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
The only way to halt these dreadful parasites in their tracks is to practice bed bug prevention. It is advantageous to be properly aware of and knowledgeable about how to recognize and remove breeding circumstances. Despite their name, bed bugs may reproduce and infect any area of your house. To prevent bed bug infestations, it’s essential to keep an eye on your entire house.
A bed bug infestation may be expensive and time-consuming to get rid of. The bed bug heat treatment ensures that the infestation is entirely and completely eradicated the first time. To make sure that bed bugs are totally eradicated from your house, it is important to seek the professional assistance of a knowledgeable pest controller.
As you can see, the first step in determining whether bed bugs are present at home or in a hotel room is to check your mattress and sheets for evidence of these wingless, reddish-brown pests. Those bugs lose their outer shell as part of their life cycle, leaving behind clear indications of an infestation.
Hopefully, discussing the different steps of those creatures’ development will help you better manage their infestations. Keep in mind that they vary in size based on where they are in their bed bug life cycle while looking for them.
Nato is a content writer and researcher with a background in psychology who’s eager to explore the wonders of nature. As a travel enthusiast and animal lover, she hopes to inspire others to discover and cherish the beauty and importance of the natural world.