To better understand the bed bug, lets look at a general overview of the life cycle of these bugs. Let’s take a moment to investigate and educate ourselves on their eating, nesting and mating habits. Take a closer look at the life cycle of a bed bug:
Life begins for a bed bug as an egg, which is milky white in color.
The female bed bug can lay between 1 and 12 eggs a day and up to 500 eggs in her lifetime! These eggs are coated with a sticky substance so it makes them adhere easily. Eggs are always placed within crevices or tight cracks by the female and begin at about 1mm in length, which is comparable to the size of 2 grains of salt. Within a couple of weeks these eggs hatch and the immature bed bugs begin to feed on their victims!
Young bed bugs are called Nymphs, and they go through 5 molts before they reach maturity.
They are, of course, smaller in size compared to full-grown adults and they are not yet sexually mature. Nymphs are a yellow-white color, whereas the adult bed bugs are more reddish-brown. At room temperature, and with their required regular blood meals, Nymphs mature and become adult bed bugs in 5 weeks!
When they have reached maturity, bed bugs most often have weekly feedings.
Most commonly, a bed bug’s life span ranges from 4 to 6 months, though this life span can be extended to up to a year under cooler conditions. Some experts believe that their lifespans can be as long as 12-18 months. Adult bed bugs are oval and flat and grow to be approximately a quarter of an inch long.
The pesky bed bugs are nocturnal, so even if one does not see signs of the bugs during the day, at night they will become active and feed.
Bed bugs are fast moving insects and use their sharp beaks to pierce the skin of their victim. This beak injects a salivary fluid that contains an anticoagulant that helps them obtain the blood. A full grown bed bug usually feeds for ten to fifteen minutes at a time.
Signs of bed bugs infesting a household may include bed bug excrement, which will appear as dark spots on furniture, clothes, or bedding.
There may also be bloody marks on bed linens or mattresses from crushed bed bugs. Nymphs will also shed their skin as they grow, and as the bed bug population increases shed skins can accumulate and become more noticeable in a room. Although these facts can make our skin crawl a bit, they can also make us aware of the signs that we have an infestation problem.
Bed bugs hide during the day and prefer to stay in their dark and protected habitats, such as folds of mattresses, seams and tufts for nesting. They also like crevices in our bedsteads. These bugs also like baseboards, floor cracks, window and door frames, pictures and drapery pleats to hide behind. These facts probably make you feel like you want to thoroughly investigate your bedrooms and you should!
Periodic checks of all these areas in your home are one way you can be proactive in keeping your home free of these blood sucking parasites.