The first step in controlling and getting rid of bed bugs is to know about bed bug life cycle and what bed bugs look like. There are many other bugs out there that look like bed bugs, and that makes accurate identification the critical first step in order to avoid costly treatment for the wrong kind of bug.
The types of bugs resembling bed bugs vary depending on your region or country.
The most commonly found bed bug is the Cimex Lectularius L. the adult bed bugs are in general are:
– The size of an apple seed.
– Long and brown, flap and oval shaped. (If haven’t feed recently).
– Balloon-like and brownish red, and more elongated. (If they have fed recently).
– Smelly, with a musty odor, much like a wet towel.
– Smaller, translucent, and yellowish colored.
– If young bed bugs haven’t recently fed they can be virtually invisible.
During their lifetime, bed bugs will go through the following stages:
– Eggs. (1mm)
All bed bugs life begin with an egg, the size of a grain and whitish in color. It is a fact that female bed bugs lay between one to five eggs per day and may lay up to 500 eggs during their lifespan. Eggs can either be laid singly or in clusters and are normally placed inside tight cracks. The egg is at least 1mm in length and it is comparable in size to two grains of salts. Two weeks later, the eggs hatch and they newborn begin to feed immediately.
– First stage nymph. (1.5mm)
– Second stage nymph. (2mm)
– Third stage nymph. (2.5mm)
– Fourth stage nymph. (3mm)
– Fifth stage nymph. (4.5mm)
These young bed bugs, also known as nymphs, go through five molts or stages before reaching adulthood. Even though Nymphs may appear similar to adults, they are smaller and are not yet sexually mature. Youngest nymphs are yellowish in color, while the older ones and adults are brownish red. In order to complete the molting stages, they need to constantly feed on blood. Nymphs can molt and become adults in just five weeks at the right temperature.
– Adult Stage. (5.5mm)
Once they have reach maturity they can feed on a weekly basis and reproduce. With all condition to their favor, an adult bed bug will live between 99 and 300 days, although there is no exact number of days to accurately measure its lifespan.
Recent studies have shown that starvation has a major impact on a bed bug survival.
The bed bugs that have been infesting our homes today are direct predecessors of the cave-dwelling bugs that fed on bats. By the time humans began to live in those caves, the bugs began to feed off of them. And when the humans moved out of the caves and went on to build their civilizations, bugs moved along with them. And ever since, there has been a symbiotic relationship between humans and bed bugs that have endured the test of time.
Bed bugs are part of the insect family called Cimicidae, and all members of said family feed on blood exclusively. The common bed bug, known as Cimex Lectularius has five development stages. Meaning that each of this life stage or “nymph” have to take blood in order to develop into the next stage or “nymph”. As all insects, bed bugs have their skeleton on the outside of their body, something called “Exoskeleton” and they need to shed the exoskeleton in order to grow larger and larger. This process is called molting. In other word bed, bug nymphs need to take blood to molt successfully. After going through all five molting stages the bed bug becomes an adult. Both male and female adult’s bed bugs most regularly feed on blood in order to reproduce.
The total development process from egg to adulthood takes place in proximately 37 days. Adult bed bugs have a lifespan of up to a year, as long as they have regular access to blood.
It is a well-known fact that bed bugs have very cryptic lives, they spend most of their time hiding together, in places where they won’t be disturbed. They become most active during the night time, between midnight and 5 a.m. which is the time in which their favorite meal (meaning us) is deep asleep.
Bed bugs are excellent travelers, they would go a long way to find a human host. They are attracted to the Co2 produced by the host, as well as the body heat. Bed bugs are able to move really quickly, and many experts agree that they a lot of wandering around before they locate the host.
A bed bugs true lifespan is in constant fluctuation, it mostly depends on the kind of species of bug and bugs ability to find food. They communicate through pheromones and chemicals. They mostly communicate about reproduction, nesting locations, and feeding time.
They have the unlikely ability to survive a wide range of atmospheric decompositions and very low temperatures of up to 14°F any lower than that at they would almost immediately die. Researchers have agreed that bed bugs are capable of having a high tolerance to desiccation by surviving in low humidity, even when they lose at least 1/3 of their body weight. Early stage nymphs are more like to dry up entirely than older nymphs.
Bed bugs have a very high thermal death when compare to other insects, about 113°F. However, all nymphs’ stages are almost immediately killed after being subjected to temperatures of up to 115°F. It is another fact about the bed bug life cycle that they cannot survive in areas with large concentrations of carbon dioxide. While exposure to areas with high levels of nitrogen has little to none effects on them.
As much as they can survive up to a year without feeding on blood, they tend to do it regularly every five to ten days. During the coldest of winter weather, they can survive a whole year without feeding. And in the right temperatures to feeding activities, they will live up to five months.