Bed Bug Information

Bed Bug Life Cycle

A bed bug under ideal conditions can live anywhere from 6 months to a year! However, the average lifespan is 2-4 months. Immature bed bugs can actually live a few months without a food source and an adult bedbug can last much longer. Here is some bed bug information to note.

Just one bedbug can lay 200-250 eggs in its lifetime. After hatching, there are five nymphal stages before reaching maturity. Each stage requires a blood meal usually lasting a week if food and temperature conditions are adequate. Bed bugs can hit adulthood in only 37 days and begin to mate/ start another life cycle. Bed bugs reproduce by the males essentially stabbing the female’s abdomen with a specialized hardened reproductive organ. This process is called traumatic insemination. The pregnant bed bug takes roughly 17 days to lay eggs and 10 days to hatch. A single pregnant female can cause an infestation of more than 5,000 bed bugs within a six-month period.


Eggs (1mm).
1st stage nymph (1.5 mm).
2nd stage nymph (2 mm).
3rd stage nymph (2.5 mm)
4th stage nymph (3 mm).
5th stage nymph (4.5 mm).
Unfed adult
Fed adult

Bed Bug Origins

Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius Linnaeus) are insects and members of the order Heteroptera. They are ectoparasites and are universal pests of humans, domestic animals, bats, birds, and various other mammals. The bed bug is believed to have received its common name derived from the human bed where it often seeks refuge during daylight hours and feed at night. At night, bed bugs come out to feed on the bed’s occupant. Other names by which the bed bug is known are mahogany flat, chinch, and red coat. Bed bugs have six legs and do not fly. Apart from where they come from here is some practical bed bug information to pay attention to.

Bed Bug Facts

Bed Bug Infestation Signs / Symptoms

Bed bugs are stealthy insects and difficult to detect prior to feeding. Due to extremely flat bodies, they are able to hide in the cracks and crevices of mattresses (buttons and bedding), box springs, hollow areas of bed frames, furniture coverings, other types of furniture, and in wall crevices in heavier infestations. Simply put, bed bugs will hide anywhere they’re provided darkness, isolation, and protection.

This section will help you be able to identify signs of an infestation to help you better check for bed bugs. Knowing what to look for is key! Keep in mind, you will most likely see signs of an infestation before actually seeing a bed bug! Below is some important bed bug information on specific signs and symptoms.

Odor

A strong, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands is often described as smelling like coriander. The smell is not pleasant. If you have an infestation of bed bugs you may begin to notice your home smells like moldy shoes or wet moldy clothes. Smelling them is not a reliable way to confirm a bed bug infestation, but their distinctive scent does allow bed bug detection dogs to pinpoint their hiding places effectively when visual evidence is not easily found.

Blood Spots

Blood spots may appear on the sheets or mattress. These stains are usually the result of blood-filled bed bugs being crushed. This usually happens if you roll over while they are feeding and they become trapped between you and the bed.

Feces

Bed bugs leave their feces everywhere, from pillowcases and sheets to sofa cushions, baseboards, and outlets. Bed bug poop is made up of digested blood. When wet, it’s still dark red like blood would be. When it dries, the mark turns into a very dark rust shade, and will usually appear black in most lighting.

Casings

They shed when they are going through their life cycle, from nymph to adult. The casing looks just like the bed bug but without the body on the inside. Many shells are undamaged, and it appears as though the nymph magically disappeared from its exoskeleton. Since bed bugs like to stay close to where their host (you) sleeps, you will probably find more casings in and around your bed, such as along the mattress seams and behind the headboard. Other common places to find size varieties of bed bug casings are in areas where the ceiling and wall meet, along baseboards, air conditioners, and furniture.

Eggs

Bed bug eggs are shiny translucent to pearly white in colour and are found both in bed bug harborages and locations away from the main population (female bed bugs tend to lay some eggs “away from the crowd”). They have a sticky film when they are first laid to help them adhere to surfaces and this can give them a kind of shiny appearance. Bed bug eggs are approximately 1 mm long. They are more often found on wood and fabric than on plastic or metal.

Bites

It can be difficult to distinguish bed bug bites from other insect bites or rashes. In general, the sites of bedbug bites usually are red, often with a darker red spot in the middle, itchy, and arranged in a rough line, zigzag pattern, or a cluster located on the face, neck, arms and hands. Some people have no reaction to bed bug bites, while others experience an allergic reaction that can include severe itching, blisters or hives.

Live Nymph / Mature bed bugs

Baby bed bugs, called nymphs, are smaller and lighter coloured than adults. They can be almost clear until they are fed at which point they turn blood red. Depending on the developmental stage, they range from the size of a pin-head or poppy seed size at birth to about ¼” as they reach maturity. 

Fully matured bed bugs are a rusty-brown colour and very flat – until they’ve filled their bellies with blood. They are approximately ¼” in length – about the size and shape of a small apple seed. Bed bugs are often found in the seams of a mattress. The most common spot is the bottom corners of the box spring underneath the plastic pieces.