Bed Bug Life Cycle

Life Cycle/Biology of Bedbugs

The female bedbug will seek out areas that meet three requirements: water, food, and shelter. Because humans are their main food source they will often find harborage in areas close to people where they can feed without being harmed. This is usually close to a bed where people sleep, on mattresses, headboards, footboards, or end tables. The female can lay up to 5 eggs a day throughout her life, which could be as long as 6–12 months; that is more than 1,000 eggs per female per lifetime!

The eggs are attached to a surface with a cement-like substance, making sure that they aren’t easily disrupted or dislodged. The eggs are very small and translucent. They will hatch approximately one week later to the first of five nymphal stages, or instars.

The nymph is originally very small (1 mm) and light in color. They require the blood of a host in order to molt to the next stage of development, progressively growing to 4 or 5 mm in size and getting darker as they mature. In the absence of a host, bed bugs can live for months without a blood meal and remain dormant until resources are available. The nymphs will progress through the five stages over a period of about one month before becoming adults.

Adult bedbugs are approximately 7 mm in size and can live for approximately one year in optimal environments. As long as adequate resources are available, they will thrive. You can imagine the number of bedbugs that can exist in an area if left unaddressed!

Image used with permission: © MidMos Solutions Ltd.