Bed Bugs How They Reproduce

Bed Bug Reproduction

By DoMyOwn staff

How do bed bugs reproduce?

Male and Female bed bugs mate by what is called traumatic insemination. The traumatic insemination takes place by basically stabbing the female’s abdomen with a specialized hardened reproductive organ. The fertilization can take place at any location on the abdomen and the male’s gametes will travel to her ovaries or reproductive gametes. Once fertilization occurs the female contains viable eggs for 5-7 weeks. After three or so days of feeding, the female begins to lay eggs. As the female lays eggs, she continues to feed. She can produce an average of 3-8 eggs a week. The eggs hatch and immediately feed.

Female bed bugs are capable of laying as many as twelve eggs each day after being fertilized and having a proper blood meal. They are deposited in small cracks and crevices along bed frames, baseboards, and carpet linings. The female lays the eggs with an adhesive layer to assure that the eggs will stay in place. The baby bed bugs will hatch from the eggs in around six to seventeen days. The young emerge and immediately begin to feed or search for food. Nymphs and adults are able to survive long periods of time without food. Bed bugs usually live for a year to a year and a half. Three or more generations can occur each year.

To stop bed bug reproduction, use an IGR (insect growth regulator). For bed bugs, we specifically recommend using Gentrol IGR.

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How Do Bed Bugs Reproduce?

After a sleepless night, bedridden with bed bug bites, did you ever wonder how are they coming in such large numbers? How the process ofbed bug reproductionlooks when there are so many of them? Their numbers are great, and that is the main problem when it comes to containing the epidemic of bed bugs. I have had problems with these pests more than once. That is why I have decided to learn something about their reproduction because if you know how a certain pest in reproducing/multiplying, you are going to be able to fight them off in a more successful way.

How do bed bugs reproduce? The act of bed bug reproduction is called “traumatic insemination”. The process begins with the male bed bug stabbing the abdomen of the female with a peculiar hard reproductive organ. By stabbing her, the organ opens a crack in the shell of a female bed bug, and through that crack injects sperm into the body cavity. The sperm flows through the female body and as a result, in the end it fertilizes the eggs.

We know all of this sounds weird and confusing, that is why we will add more info for clarification. Female bugs can get hurt by frequent reproducing, so they will even sometimes hide from the possible mating processes. The process of laying eggs takes 6 to 8 weeks. The bed bug life cycle is very interesting, so we suggest you stay with us and read the article until the very end.

Table of Contents

So How Are There So Many Bed Bugs?

Before fertilization can happen, bed bugs need to feed themselves and shed their skin for 5 times. For that to happen, it takes around 37 days – in case the bed bugs can find a host to feed on regularly. After the fertilization of the female happens, she will be carrying eggs from 6 to 8 weeks, but it will lay the first eggs after just 3 days.

Research showed that the males are likely to reproduce with recently fed female bugs because their outer membrane is thinner and easier to pierce. The act of fertilization leaves the female bug scared. There is one crucial information – the female bed bug is also feeding herself during the whole process of egg carrying. Sometimes she is distancing herself from her mates so she could feed herself better, and by doing so, lay more eggs.

By distancing her self from the male bed bugs she will also minimize the chance of getting hurt by constant reproduction cycles. Someone would think “how would a female bug lay more eggs by distancing herself from the male bugs? It doesn’t make sense.” Well, it is not that simple. While she is distancing herself, she is also preserving the eggs. How? By allowing herself to feed regularly. By doing so, she is caring for the eggs in the best possible way, by giving them enough time and food to develop correctly. If the process of thebed bug reproductionwas different, she would probably have less hatching cycles and fewer eggs in each cycle.

On average, in onebed bug reproductioncycle, 3 to 8 eggs are laid every week, and in perfect conditions that number goes up to 12 eggs per day! It takes 6 to 9 days for eggs to hatch. Immediately after hatching the young bed bugs their feeding process begins. When you know the information that the female bug layson average 200 to 250 eggsin her lifetime, you can understand how we haven’t found the way to deal with them during all this time.

There were even cases were one female bed bug laid over500 eggs in her lifetime.It is very hard to fight that many bed bugs! Even if you try, the bed bugs will give you a hard time, because they will not lay their eggs just in plain sight. They will find a place that is very hard to reach, like cracks in the walls, electric outlets or under the furniture.

What Is A Traumatic Insemination?

How did the bed bugs come to reproducing by piercing the female abdomen with a male organ? This somewhat strange method of reproduction started because of female bed bugs resistance to mating. There were a lot of male bed bugs competing for one female, and of course, all of them want to inject their sperm into female ovaries. That escalated, and some males developed long penises which allowed them to inject sperm closer to ovaries. Some otherevolvedin the other direction and started using the method now known as traumatic insemination.

Males pierce the female abdomen and inject sperm into their bloodstream. Through blood, it goes directly into the ovaries, and there the fertilization of the eggs happens. This is adopted as the only method of mating in bed bugs. This whole process has a clearly negative impact on female bed bugs. It reduces their life span and it even decreases its reproductive output.

Why? Because bed bugs need time to repair the wound, stop the bleeding, and that method also has a higher risk of infection through the wound. Female bed bugs have an evolved reproductive organ calledspermalege. It consists of two different parts called ectospermalege and mesospermalege.

Some Facts On Bed Bugs Reproduction

Temperature As A Factor For Successful Bed Bug Reproduction

The temperature of the inhabited space is one of the crucial elements for fruitfulbed bug reproduction.If the warmth is 70°F/21°C or above, around 60 percent of eggs will be hatched by day 6. Somewhere around day 9, around 90% will be hatched. If the temperature goes down, it will increase the time needed for the egg hatching.

The ideal temperature is between 70°F/21°C and 90°F/32°C, under those conditions, bed bug number will be in most cases doubled. Those temperatures are common in human homes, so we can say that bed bugs evolved alongside humans and they adopted our habits. They are inside in the warm, and they don’t need to go through harsh weather conditions outside. We are aperfect hostfor these pests.

Ways of Stoping Bed Bug Reproduction

The main problem with bed bugs is the speed of their reproduction. Also, they are small, adaptable to the environment and hard to see. So with that information, you can say that it is pretty hard to stop a bed bug infestation.

In theory, you can treat bed bugs with pesticides right away, but you will need to be thorough. We made our list of recommended sprays for eradicating bed bugs. In fact, we made two different lists, one withnatural (eco) type of bed bugs spraysand the other withregular bed bug spraysthat are usually more effective. Whatever you chose from our list it will help you if you are having a small to medium infestation. But if you are having a huge bed bugs infestation, the best way would be to hire professionals.

Can Female Bed Bugs Lay Eggs Without Mating?

No, it is impossible for the female bed bug to lay eggs without mating. One strange thing about female bed bugs is that they can store sperm, and choose the time to fertilize the eggs. Before laying the eggs a female bed bug needs first feed herself. Also, when the sperm has been used up, she needs to mate again in order to lay more eggs. Sometimes if she lives for a longer period, believe it or not, one of her offsprings will mate with her and the cycle will continue until the female bed bug dies.

Is It Possible for Male Bugs to Lay Eggs?

No, because male bed bugs lack the female organs needed to create and store eggs. Females, on the other hand, don’t have organs needed to fertilize the eggs. So there is an absolute need for males and females in the whole process from fertilization to laying off the eggs.

Do Bed Bugs Have Some Sort of Mating Season?

No, and that is the reason why there are so many of them. Even when outside is cold or a winter season it won’t affect bed bugs because they are in your home, and the temperature is ideal for their mating. That is one of the main reasons why bed bugs areregularly choosing humansas their hosts. The best time for the mating is right after they feed off the host, so you can now understand why their numbers are constantly great.

Do the Bed Bugs Use Their Host as a Place for Laying Eggs?

Bugs are attracted to their hosts only when they want to feed. They don’t want to lay their eggs on the host, because that would be risky for the eggs and for the bed bugs itself. Humans would easily get rid of bed bugs by just sweeping them off the skin. They don’t have any kind of claws with which they could use to hold on to some part of the host (like lice), so theanswer is definitely no.


In this article, we talked about how bed bugs reproduce (“Traumatic Insemination”). This is one of the most unique ways that insects reproduce. It just seems brutal and weird. Knowing thatlower temperaturesslow down their reproduction is a good thing to know but it is very hard to reproduce lower temperatures in our house. Onlyspecial gearthat exterminators use can reach extreme temperatures (hot or cold). That is why it is always a good thing to call them if you have a huge infestation of bed bugs. I hope some of this information will help you in your fight against bed bugs.

If you found this article interesting please use or site for more information about bed bugs or other pests.

List of Sources

Traumatic insemination and sexual conflict in the bed bugs Cimex lectularius, University of Sheffield

How do bed bugs multiply?

You should hate bed bugs because of two reasons: They disturb you and reproduce rapidly. So, how bed bugs reproduce and what can stop them multiplying?

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are parasites that feed on blood. They feed only on blood and unfortunately, their main food source is human.

A bed bug has 3 life stages and its size varies from 1 to 6 mm depending on its stage. You can find more information about bed bugs stages in this post:

Physical features of bed bugs are below:

  • They are flat and oval-shaped
  • Half-winged (so little useless wings so, no wings at all)
  • Reddish brown colored (More reddish after recently fed)

What do bed bugs look like?

They are not microscopic creatures so, you can see them with naked eye. What you have to know about bed bugs firstly is they can’t fly or jump which means that if you see an insect flying or jumping, you can eliminate bed bug option easily.

Bed bug eggs

Here is a video showing bed bug eggs:

Bed bugs aren’t mammalians which means they multiply by laying. Bed bug eggs can be differentiated from other bug eggs with their shapes and appearances on the floor.

Bed bug eggs are yellow white, they stand together and glued to the surface, mostly in cracks. The most distinguishing feature of those eggs from the other bug eggs is “glue”.

Other places where bed bugs lay their eggs are:

  • Behind walls
  • Inside clothes
  • Mattress
  • Behind wall papers
  • Other places near to their food source

Beg bugs male/female ratio

This is important because reproducing activity of beg bugs depend on the number of females. After laying their eggs, the number of female and male eggs hatching is almost the same: 1:1 ratio.

Success hatching ratio of a female is usually more than 95 percent.

How fast bed bugs spread?

Laying ability of a female adult bed bug depends on how much it feeds. So, more blood they can have, more eggs they will produce.

After a female bed bugs feeds enough once, she will produce 1 to 7 eggs per a day for next 10 days.

Eggs will hatch in 7 to 10 days if the air condition is suitable for them, otherwise hatching time can take up to 30 days.

So, a female bed bug can hatch 100 to 500 eggs in her lifetime which means they will reproduce rapidly and if no action is taken, the invasion will be inevitable.

How fast bed bugs grow?

After hatching, new born bed bug will have 2 more life stages. First will be nymph and this stage has 5 instars in it.

They will need a month in average to become an adult which has a body size more than 5 mm.

How long bed bugs survive without feeding

The main reason what makes bag bugs invasive is their resistance to hunger. They can survive without feeding at least for months, nevertheless it was observed that they can live without feeding for more than a year in some cases.

Ideal temperature for bed bugs

Ideal environment for bed bugs is where the temperature is between 65° and 85°. So, their activity will reduce below 65° and above 85°.

What prevents bed bugs from reproducing?

Under these conditions, their reproducing speed gets slower or ends:

  • If they can’t feed enough
  • If they are not close to their food sources
  • If the environment temperature is not between 65° and 85°.


What you must know about bed bugs reproduce are:

  • They usually start mating after 1 month they hatched.
  • They multiply by laying.
  • Their eggs are glued and in group.
  • Hatching success for the eggs is more than 95 percent.
  • An adult female can lay 100 to 500 eggs during her lifetime.
  • They are more reproductive during ideal condition: When the feed enough and it’s 65° and 85° around.
  • If no action is taken on time, you must face a bed bug invasion.

For more information about bed bugs, you can check these posts:

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Understanding and combating bed bugs

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How Bed Bugs Reproduce

In order to prevent the spread of bed bugs, it’s important to understand how they reproduce. Bedbugs reproduce via hypodermic insemination, also known as traumatic insemination. Male bugs use their genitalia to pierce the females anywhere on the abdomen, releasing sperm into the body. The sperm migrate through her abdominal fluiduntil they arrive at the ovaries, resulting in fertilization of the eggs.

The mating process is traumatic for female bed bugs, and they are frequently injured in the process. The wound can result in infection and leakage of blood, which reduces the lifespan of the female. For this reason, female bugs will avoid excessive mating where possible. After mating, they prefer to move to a location where they can remain undisturbed with a guaranteed food supply. In a safe environment, a female bed bug will typically lay between one to seven eggs each day, following each blood meal.

Bed bugs generally live for 12 to 18 months. During her lifetime, a female bed bug will lay up to 250 eggs. The milky-white eggs are roughly one millimeter long, and visible to the naked eye.The eggs are deposited in crevices and cracks on bed frames, baseboards, furniture and carpets. The female uses an adhesive layer to ensure the eggs remain in place.

Because mating results in scarring, females that have mated many times within a short period of time will produce fewer eggs. Females that have time to recover from the mating process will produce more eggs. This phenomenon helps increase the proliferation of bed bugs, because pregnant females will travel to new locations to avoid male bugs.

Eggs hatch within 1-2 weeks. The nymphs that emerge can feed on blood immediately, but are unable to reproduce until they have fully matured. Theyundergo five molting stages before reaching adulthood. During each stage they must feed at least once. The time taken to mature depends on the temperature – from three weeks in warm weather to four months in cold weather.

A female bed bug may mate with any of her adult offspring, and will lay eggs continuously assuming she has access to a blood meal. Thismeans a single pregnant female can easilycreate an infestation of five thousand bugs within six months.

A 2010 study discovered that bed bug nymphs release a pheromone that prevents males from attempting to mate with them. Scientists hope to eventually use this pheromone to disrupt bed bug reproduction and reduce infestations.

If you really want to get rid of bed bugs today try SayByeBugs! It was developed as a safe and highly effective alternative among a sea of products that rarely deliver on their promises.

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