Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pest problems that can get out of control really quickly. The first step is identifying and controlling these pests. Since there are many bugs that look similar to bed bugs it is important to know what they look like exactly, what is their life cycle is like, and when they usually make it into people’s homes.
How do bed bugs reproduce?
The process of bed bug mating is called a traumatic insemination. The male breaks the female’s abdomen with his genitalia to inject his semen through that wound. The sperm migrates through abdominal fluid until it reaches her ovaries. This process is traumatic for a female so sometimes she isolates herself. That is most likely how the female bed bug hitchhikes onto personal belongings, like backpacks or luggage.
Life Cycle of Bed Bugs
A bed bug’s life cycle can be described in five phases:
- A bed bug’s life begins as an egg. Female bed bugs lay between five and twelve eggs each day. The eggs are about the size of a pinhead, milky-white, and resemble a grain of rice. Usually, female bed bugs lay eggs in cracks and crevices, such as those between floorboards and wall baseboards. One individual bug can lay 500 eggs during her lifetime.
- Eggs hatch within seven to seventeen days, depending on room temperature. The newly emerged nymphs are also about 1.5mm long and almost transparent until the first feeding. In this stage of development, they are very difficult to see. Nymphs are yellow or white in color. Before reaching adulthood, immature nymphs molt five times, they shed out their exoskeleton in order to grow.
- In this stage, a bed bug nymph is 2mm long. Bed bugs in this stage also molt and take a blood meal. They are easily recognizable in this phase since they start to get a reddish stain on their back. After the feeding, they become larger and redder.
- During this stage, bed bug nymphs are 3mm long and start to look more like an adult bed bug; now their color is dark yellow with a much bigger, rust-colored stain on the back.
- The final molting of the bug is the final stage of their life cycle. At this stage, they are 4.5–5.5mm long and their coloring is a much darker rust color.
Immature bed bugs may live for several months without a meal while adults may survive one entire year without feeding. Adult bed bugs will live for about ten to eighteen months.
How do bed bugs create an infestation?
Most likely the first bed bug that comes to your home is an adult bug. A female bed bug is capable of laying five to seven eggs per week. An infestation from one pregnant female can rise to 5,000 bed bugs in only six months. Their evolution process is fast and they reach adulthood within a month. They are mostly a danger when you are traveling, but they are also found in apartment buildings, schools, libraries, and office buildings.
If you have any suspicions your house is infested, make sure to check the entire home and contact a bed bug control professional to help you eradicate them.
Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of bed bugs and use that knowledge when developing a bed bug control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.