How Bed Bugs Breed

How do Bed Bugs Breed?

If there’s even the slightest chance bed bugs have entered your home, you’ll need to do something to prevent them from growing in numbers. In order to handle the situation, however, you’ll need to know how they breed, what they look like, what their life cycle is like and how they usually make it into people’s homes. Here are the answers to all of those questions!

How do bed bugs breed?

The process of bed bug mating is called a traumatic insemination. This process is traumatic for a female, which is why she sometimes isolates herself. That is usually why the female bed bug gets into people’s belongings, such as backpacks or luggage.

What are the life stages of a bed bug?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

How does a bed bug infestation start?

In most cases the first bed bug that enters 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 life cycle is fast and they reach adulthood within a month. They pose the biggest threat when you are traveling, but they can also be found in apartment buildings, schools, libraries and office buildings.

You’ve seen how fast these tiny creatures can reproduce. This is why it’s very important to react on time. If you have any doubts about whether your house is infested, make sure to check the entire place 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 bottle flies and use that knowledge when developing a fly 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 orclick herefor a free quick quote.

Bed Bugs: Everything You Need to Know

Belonging to the orderhemipteraor true bugs, bed bugs are household vampires that feast on blood. They undergo a slow metamorphosis through a 5-stage life cycle that begins as an egg hatching into a nymph to end as a mature breeding adult with a nasty bite.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through what a bed bug is, how to spot them, and their life cycle.

A Quick View of Characteristics

The common bed bugs are interested in humans and don’t go for animals with fur. They can cover a lot of distance and travel about in personal belongings such as purses, luggage or gym bags. Bed bugs hate heat, so they won’t travel directly on your body, so protecting your belongings is the best way to prevent infestation.

Spotting Adult Bed Bugs

Have you seen apple seeds? Adult bed bugs look quite similar. Depending on their age, they are between 4.5mm and 7mm long and go from white when first hatched to a deep mahogany brown. A closer inspection reveals six legs, an oval-shaped abdomen and two short antennae.

Being an insect their anatomy is divided into three parts, head, thorax and abdomen.

    Head: Bed bugs have a tiny head and an eye on each side for 180 degree vision. For a nose they have a sharp ‘beak’, the clypeus, used to pierce skin. You may not notice it’s long proboscis since bed bugs keep it tucked under their bodies unless they are feeding. There are also two antennae.

Thorax: The midsection of a bed bug is called the thorax. Compared to other insect thoaxes, it’s quite tiny. Nearby there are rudimentary ‘wing casings’. There are no wings.

  • Abdomen: The abdomen of a bedbug is its most noticeable body part. In fact, it’s usually twice as wide as the thorax and around four times as long. From above, it looks quite rounded, but from the side, it looks flat.
  • Unlike many other similar-looking bugs, their bodies look quite segmented when you view them from above, and that separates them from carpet beetles and spider beetles. Their oval-shaped bodies also help identify them. They are wingless, which means they just cannot fly. Many people say that bed bugs can fly because they have wing pads. That’s not true because they do have the vestiges of wings but they are not developed enough to help them fly.

    So, how do they move? Well, they crawl, and more interestingly, they are capable of covering up to 4 feet in a minute. It may not seem far, but it’s usually enough for them to find a hideout when you try to kill them.

    The Bed Bug Life Cycle

    In their lifetime, bed bugs go through three stages including molting twice as an adult.

      Egg: Eggs are tiny and pearl white in color. They are laid in dark spots around your home. They take about 6 to 9 days to hatch.

    Nymph: During the second stage, nymphs or juvenile bed bugs hatch and are around 1.4mm long although some can be up to 4mm. Each nymph passes through five stages, known as instars to become an adult, and it takes about 5-8 days to complete each instar. Nymphs look like adults but they cannot breed.

  • Adult: Once hatched, a bedbug takes around 35-40 days to mature. They can be as large as 7mm and at this stage are capable of reproduction. Under ideal circumstances, adults can live up to 10 months, but their lifespan is usually between 3 and 10 months.
  • Understanding Nymphs

    When you talk about getting rid of a bed bug infestation, it’s important to try methods that clear the adults and eggs, as well as all the nymphs.

    Being white, nymphs are harder to spot but they only stay white until they take their first feed. Nymphs have a red lump in their abdomen where they store their blood meal as they slowly digest it. Once it’s completely digested they molt and shed their exoskeleton so they can grow larger.

    As they continue to digest and grow they turn brown. The color change shows they have absorbed the nutrients in the blood. In total, the nymph passes through five sub-stages or instars and with the completion of each, they get browner. Once an adult, they don’t change color again.

    Nymphs molt during instars and will molt five times altogether before they are mature adults. Between each molt, they need a blood meal to survive. Even though nymphs are small and too young to breed, they are still looking for a meal from the instant they hatch.

    Fact: Did you know that after feeding, those nymphs could grow six times their body weight?

    Can You See Bed Bugs With The Naked Eye?

    Of course, which is helpful if you’re on a mission to confirm you have a bedbug infestation. The adult bedbugs are the largest and darkest especially when they have recently fed. They also move much more slowly after they’ve just eaten.

    Nymphs are tiny but still visible despite being no larger than a pinhead although you might have trouble finding them without a torch.

    Bed bugs are nocturnal so active at night, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come out during the daytime to feed if there’s an opportunity. Even so, they prefer to hide in safe crevices and cracks during the day. This makes finding their hideouts more of an issue rather than being able to see them with the naked eye.

    Differences Between Males and Females

    It’s a subtle difference but still noticeable. To determine a bed bug’s gender, you need a close look at their abdomen. Ones that look slightly rounder are female bed bugs. Males are slimmer and more elongated, especially when unfed.

    A more obvious difference is at the tip of the abdomen. A closer look will show that females have rounder bodies whereas males have a more pointed tip, which is considered their sex organ.

    Fact: Did you know bed bugs bite a lot but you don’t feel it because they inject an anesthetic and anticoagulant while sucking blood but that may leave you with reddened bumps?

    The Bed Bug Reproduction Cycle

    Dealing with a bedbug infestation is difficult not only because these pests have become resistant to common pesticides but because they reproduce very quickly. If it was possible to find a way to stop them reproducing, we’d be able to get rid of them once and for all.

    Once a nymph passes through five stages and turns into an adult, it’s ready to breed. Bed bugs use a process called traumatic insemination. A male bed bug has to break through the shell of a female to inject sperm directly into its body. After traveling through the female’s body, the sperm eventually reaches eggs to fertilize them.

    Something that makes this whole process bad news for households is that once fertilized, the female is capable of lying at least one egg a day, and she can mate again to keep topping up the number of eggs she is carrying. This process continues for 6-8 weeks, which means plenty of eggs to grow into new bed bugs.

    Each female bed bug lays up to 200-250 eggs although some studies have recorded females lying more than 500. It all comes down to the right conditions. Females are likely to lay more eggs in warmer temperatures and in places where breeding and feeding conditions are most suitable.

    Compared tocimex lectularius, the common bed bug in the U.S., lays many more eggs than their tropical cousins.A tropical bed bug lays no more than 50 eggs in her entire lifetime.

    Fact: Did you know female bed bugs often migrate away from their harborages after the undergo traumatic insemination?

    Can Bed Bugs Survive Without a Blood Meal?

    One reason why we have failed to get rid of bedbugs for good is that they are very resilient and more than capable of managing without meal. However, once they have fed, it takes them a long time to digest the blood. Left unfed, they can last months without blood meal.

    Bed bugs can live longer without food when they are in cooler environments. In fact, experts believe that bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding at 55F or less. However, they may find it a bit harder to survive without food in temperature-controlled buildings but they can still survive for 6 months.

    This means that even leaving your home for a few months is not always going to work. These little blood-suckers won’t starve to death waiting for you to return.


    Bed bugs are notorious household pests, and as they reproduce quickly, with each female laying over 200 eggs, it doesn’t take long before you have a heavy infestation at hand. Leaving it unattended would result in serious issues, including itching and allergic reaction.

    Identifying those bugs, however, will help take quick actions and may make it possible to eradicate an infestation before the problem spirals out of control.

    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.

    244 of 253 people found this article informative and helpful.

    Was this article informative and helpful to you? Yes | No

    Bed Bugs Information

    Bed bugs are known – even by many pest control professionals – as one of the most difficult pests to exterminate. There are a number of reasons for this, such as their:

    • Phenomenal Hiding Ability
    • Very Small Size
    • Ability To Resist Traditional Extermination Methods

    Bedbugs can fit into cracks so small that only experts can find them, and they are able to lay even smaller eggs that can resistant some extermination techniques.

    But it’s not just their ability to hide that makes them such a serious problem. The other issue that affects bedbug control is the sheer number of insects in a typical bed bug infestation.

    Females can lay around 200-250 eggs during their lifespan. After hatching, her offspring only need a few months before they can start reproducing too. One pregnant female bed bug could be the cause of 5,000 bedbugs in six months.

    The Bed Bug Life Cycle

    The life cycle of a bed bug is relatively short, but productive, with the following pattern:

    • Egg – Bed bug eggs hatch after six to 17 days of being laid.
    • Nymph – New bed bugs take frequent blood meals in order to grow to adult size, and need anywhere from 21 days to four months to grow enough to reproduce.
    • Adult – Adults usually live up to six months but can live for several years depending on their environment and food availability. They are able to breed as soon as they reach full adulthood and can continue to breed until they die.

    There is very little someone who isn’t a pest control professional can do to halt or even slow a bed bug infestation. They thrive and reproduce the most quickly at temperatures that are also comfortable for most people, between 70 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Contact BC Bug to Solve Your Bed Bug Problem

    Since every single bed bug must be eliminated in order to end an infestation, this extraordinarily high reproduction rate works against property owners. It is why professional exterminators should be contacted as soon as bed bugs are found or even suspected. Even a few days can make a big difference in the size of an infestation and how quickly and effectively it can be removed. If you have a bed bug problem in Vancouver, Victoria, or most of BC, contact BC Bug today.

    What Attracts Bedbugs to Human Environments?

    • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

    Once considered a pest of the past, bedbugs now make regular headlines as they infest homes, hotels, and dormitories worldwide. As bedbugs spread, more people worry about them and want to know what causes a bedbug infestation.

    Though it might seem as if bedbug infestations are on the rise, historical context indicates that bedbugs and other bloodsucking parasites have been associated with humans for thousands of years. Throughout that history, people have endured them feeding on their blood. Bedbugs all but disappeared when people started using DDT and other pesticides to keep insects out of their homes. Although news headlines suggest bedbugs are conquering the world, the reality is that bedbug infestations are still at historically low numbers.

    Why are they called bedbugs? Once they settle into your home, they congregate where you spend a lot of sedentary time: chairs, couches, and especially beds. They are attracted to you by the carbon dioxide in the air you breathe out, and you do a lot of breathing over the hours you’re in bed. Then they feed on your blood.

    Bedbugs Don’t Care If You’re Clean or Dirty

    Contrary to popular belief, there is no association between bedbugs and filth. They feed on human and animal blood, and as long as a source of blood is available to them, they will happily take up residence in even the most pristine home.

    Being poor doesn’t put you at greater risk for bedbugs, and having wealth doesn’t immunize you from a bedbug infestation. Although poverty doesn’t cause bedbugs, impoverished communities may lack the resources needed to control infestations, making them more persistent and pervasive in such areas.

    Bedbugs Are Excellent Hitchhikers

    For bedbugs to infest your home, they have to hitch a ride on someone or something. They don’t usually stay on their human hosts after feeding, but they might hide in clothing and inadvertently go along for the ride to a new location. Most often, bedbugs travel in luggage after someone has stayed in an infested hotel room. Bedbugs may even infest theaters and other public spaces and spread to new locations via purses, backpacks, coats, or hats.

    Bedbugs Go Where the Action Is

    Since bedbugs travel by hitchhiking, infestations are more common in places with high rates of turnover in the human population: apartment buildings, dormitories, homeless shelters, hotels and motels, and military barracks. Any time you have a lot of people coming and going, there’s an increased risk that someone will carry a few bedbugs into the building. In general, owners of single-family homes have a lower risk of getting bedbugs.

    Bedbugs Hide in Clutter

    Once in your home, bedbugs scurry quickly to select a new hiding place; in beds and other furniture, behind baseboards, under wallpaper, or inside switch plates. Then it’s just a matter of time before they begin multiplying. A single female may arrive at your doorstep already carrying enough eggs to produce hundreds of offspring. While filth does not benefit bedbugs, clutter does. The more cluttered your home is, the more hiding places there are for bedbugs and the harder it will be to get rid of them.

    Add Comments: