Bedbugs are parasites that prefer to feed on humans but if people are unavailable they will feed on other warm-blooded animals including rodents, birds, and pets. They select a host in which they live on and feed on. On humans, they prefer to feed on the face, neck, arms or hands and the host is usually unaware that a feeding is taking place. Below is a summary of the bed bug life cycle.
Egg – The female bed bug lays her eggs in clusters of about 5 per day, but can sometimes lay many more at a time. She uses a sticky substance to glue her eggs to rough surfaces. In about 1-2 weeks the eggs hatch into nymphs and they begin feeding immediately.
Nymph – The nymph must consume a “blood meal” in order to molt. It will molt 5 times in order to reach maturity, meaning there are five larval stages in the bed bug life cycle (see below for more detail.) Temperature affects the speed of the life cycle – in warm temperatures (86 degrees F) the nymph stage may last a mere 3 weeks and in cooler temperatures (65 degrees F) it may take many months for nymphs to reach adulthood. The nymph period can be greatly prolonged if food is scarce. Immature bedbugs are referred to as nymphs or larvae.
Adult – Adult bed bugs typically live about 12 months, however some may live substantially longer.
The full detailed bed bug life cycle is categorized into 3 main stages, with 5 classified larval stages:
- Egg: 1 mm Long
- First Stage Larva: 1.5 mm Long – Takes a blood meal and molts
- Second Stage Larva: 2 mm long – Takes a blood meal and molts
- Third Stage Larva: 2.5 mm long – Takes a blood meal and then molts
- Fourth Stage Larva: 3 mm long – Takes a blood meal and then molts
- Fifth Stage Larva: 4.5 mm long – Takes a blood meal and then molts
- Adult: 5.5 mm long – Takes repeated blood meals over several weeks. Females lay up to 5 eggs per day, continuously
Did you know?
- It takes a bed bug between 3-10 minutes to complete a feeding
- A female bedbug can lay between 200 and 500 eggs their lifetime
- Adult bed bugs can live more then 10 months without a blood meal
- Most male and female bed bugs feed every 3-4 days