If you’ve learned that you have a bed bug infestation, you are probably thinking of ways to get rid of bed bugs. It is important to learn how to control and eliminate them in the cheapest and quickest way. However, it is also crucial to know the bed bug life cycle to have an idea of how serious the situation is. Seeing bed bugs in different stages across your home is a clear sign that an infestation is happening for a certain period of time.
A Bed Bug’s Life Cycle
To identify and confirm an infestation, you should know what a bed bug looks like in every stage of their life. Though their life cycle only consists of a simple metamorphosis cycle egg to nymph and then to adult, they go through a total of seven stages to complete the cycle. One bug goes through several nymphal instar stages before they mature. Find out more about what consists the entire cycle below:
Female bed bugs lay eggs that are milky white in colour. Bed bug eggs measure approximately a millimetre. With the small size of the eggs, they can be a little difficult to see. Thus, the need for a thorough inspection to find them.
- 1st Nymphal Stage
When the eggs hatch, they enter the first stage of five nymphal stages. As they enter this stage, they will be around 1.5 mm in length. They will immediately go for a blood meal. Since they are not yet mature, these young bed bugs are not yet ready to breed.
- 2nd Nymphal Stage
After the first moult, they will enter the second nymphal stage and will measure around 2 mm in length.
- 3rd Nymphal Stage
Another moulting and they then become third stage bed bug nymphs. This is the point when they will reach a length of about 2.5 mm.
- 4th Nymphal Stage
This is the stage where they become about 3 mm long.
- 5th Nymphal Stage
As they are reaching maturity, they will go through this last nymph stage. They will be about 4.5 mm long.
After the several moulting, the once baby bugs turn into adult bed bugs that are ready for breeding. They will most likely hide near their human host like your box spring or mattress to easily reach you when you sleep.
It usually takes at least five weeks to reach full maturity. The average life span is about four to 6 months. With their unique characteristics, they can actually live up to a year in ideal living conditions.
For bed bugs to live longer, they have to continuously feed on human blood. As bed bugs feed, you will then notice bites on exposed parts of your body upon waking up in the morning.
How Long Can They Live?
Bed bugs can live for about four months, which is the shortest period. It can extend to a year if they are able to live in ideal conditions. With ideal temperature, undisturbed nesting area, and abundant food source, they can live up to a year and breed continuously. They can also stay alive despite not feeding.
Without a human host, they can also bite and feed off of pets like cats, dogs, and even chickens and rodents. Though their life doesn’t last long, they have an active life and are very aggressive in mating. Thus, making it possible for them to continue an infestation even if adult ones get killed or die.
Controlling Bed Bugs
If you have confirmed an infestation, it is advisable that you immediately look for ways to kill bed bugs and completely eliminate them from your house. There are various pest control products that you can use to control an infestation and kill all visible bugs around your home.In cases where you find out that your home is heavily infested it is advisable that you contact a professional. Make sure that you still practice precautionary measures even after getting professional treatment as the remaining bugs in the early stages can still mature and re-infest your home.