How Long For Bed Bugs To Reproduce

Bed bugs

Quick facts

You may not realize that you have been bitten. Bite reactions vary from no reaction to mild red spots to severe rash or hives.

The return of the bed bug

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) were almost completely removed from North America due to mass treatments with highly toxic insecticides that are no longer in use.

Frequent travel, improved treatment methods that target other insects without affecting bed bugs, and a lack of public awareness has led to a rise in the spread of bed bugs.

Identifying bed bugs

Contact an expert to help identify any suspected bed bug specimens.

The "Let’s Beat the Bed Bug" campaign at the University of Minnesota found that 76 percent of samples submitted for identification are not bed bugs.

  • Adult bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown and wingless insects approximately 1/4" to 3/8" long (5-9 mm). They are similar in appearance to a wood tick.
  • After the bug has taken a blood meal its color changes from brown to purplish-red and it becomes larger and more cigar-shaped.
  • Young bed bugs resemble the adult in shape but are much smaller, 1/16" (1.6 mm), when they first hatch. They are nearly colorless except after feeding.

Life cycle

After mating, females lay white, oval eggs (1/16" long) into cracks and crevices.

  • An individual bed bug can lay 200 to 250 eggs in her lifetime.
  • The eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days and the newly emerged nymphs seek a blood meal.
  • Immature nymphs molt five times (they shed their outer exoskeleton) before reaching adulthood.
  • There may be three or more generations per year. All ages are found in a reproducing population.
  • Under normal circumstances adult bed bugs will live for about 2 to 4 months.
  • Bed bugs need to feed at least once before each molt, although they could feed as often as once a day.

    Young nymphs can survive without a blood meal for days up to several months. Older nymphs and adults can survive longer without a blood meal up to a year under favorable conditions.

    Bed bugs are also found in schools, retail facilities, office buildings, libraries and other public areas.

    Signs that you have bed bugs

    Look where you sleep

    Bed bugs typically group together in out-of-the-way areas. But some bed bugs will live by themselves, away from the rest of an infestation. The best way to check for an infestation is to look for bed bugs where you sleep or rest.

    In bedrooms, look particularly on and around:

    • boxsprings, mattresses, bed frames, tufts, folds and buttons on mattresses
    • furniture such as desks and chairs
    • behind wallpaper, clocks and pictures
    • cracks in wood floors and under the edge of carpet

    Be careful when you travel

    The greatest chance of finding bed bugs is while you are traveling. It is a good habit to check your room whenever on vacation.

    Check your luggage where you typically set it down when you enter your home and where you store it after travelling.

    While bed bugs are most commonly found in bedrooms, infestations can occur in other rooms including bathrooms, living rooms and laundry rooms.

    Look for spots or smears

    Bed bugs will sometimes deposit fecal spots (digested blood) while they are feeding. These are seen as dark (dark reddish or brownish) spots or smears found on bed sheets, pillowcases and mattresses, or in nearby areas.

    • Dark blood spots on sheets and bedding may indicate bed bug feeding.
    • In severe infestations, bed bugs may be more noticeable.
    • A combination of bugs, cast skins (empty shells of bugs as they grow from one stage to the next) and fecal spots will be very obvious when closely seen.

    Inspect carefully

    These insects are small (1/16" to 1/4") and very flat, so they can move into very tight corners and cracks. They have been found under picture frames between the glass and the frame.

    Bed bugs can be found behind electrical outlets and other wall plates.

    • Inspect all areas closely and, if in doubt, contact a pest control service.
    • If you find a bed bug stop inspection and begin control activity.
    • Bed bugs will move from their hiding places once disturbed. All further inspections should be accompanied by control measures.

    How to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home

    Traveling and bed bugs

    Inspect your personal items before packing and when you unpack

    You can only confirm that bed bugs are present by carefully inspecting each item. Pay attention to cracks, crevices, seams and folds of material.

    If you find bugs, then you have to be careful in containing the infestation.

    Bed bugs do not travel on people

    Bed bugs may hitch a ride on clothing, but they are not like lice and will not travel directly on a person.

    If you are concerned about bed bugs on clothing remove suspect articles and put them into a plastic bag.

    • Remove clothing in a place with a non-carpeted floor so bed bugs will have to travel before finding a hiding spot.
    • A wet cloth wiped over the floor will help contain any bed bugs that try to escape.

    Tips for reducing the risk of bringing home bed bugs

    If you think there might be bedbugs on your items seal everything in plastic bags until they can be laundered, washed by hand, heated or frozen.

    There is no need to throw away luggage and clothing after discovering an infestation.

    Before leaving the location, sort anything that can be washed and place in plastic bags.

    • Separate the laundry as you would if you were normally laundering items.
    • This will prevent escaping bed bugs as you try to sort the laundry at home.
  • Set the washer and dryer for the hottest setting that the fabric can stand.
  • If using a dry cleaning service, mention that the items may have bed bugs and that they can keep the articles in the plastic bags until just before loading into the machines.
  • Inspect suitcases and other items that cannot be placed into a washing machine and place them into plastic bags if you find bed bugs.
  • Suitcases may be hand-washed using soapy water and the hottest water possible.
  • Test the item to make sure it will not be affected by the hot water.
  • A temperature of 100°F to 120°F should be hot enough.
  • Use a scrub brush along the seams and folds.
  • Items that cannot be washed may be heated or frozen.

    • A two-hour core exposure at 120°F (45°C) is considered a minimum target temperature for heat treatments.
    • For freezing, a minimum of 23°F (-5°C) must be maintained for at least 5 days.
    • The exposure time can be reduced if the articles are flash frozen at a temperature of -15°F (-26°C), which would freeze the eggs instantly.
    • Most household freezers will have temperatures between 30°F and 20°F.
    • A 2-week freeze time is recommended if you are uncertain of the freezer temperatures.

    If you heat or freeze items, these conditions must reach the core of the articles being treated.

    Bed bugs on used furniture

    Used furniture is another potential source of bed bugs.

    • Do not pick up beds and furniture that have been left by the curb for disposal or behind places of business.
    • Bed bug infestations can be found on tables, drawers and even electronics if these items were located in a bedroom or another place that was infested.

    How to get rid of bed bugs

    Hire a professional exterminator

    We recommend that you seek assistance from a professional pest control company.

    • An exterminator uses specialty equipment to move furniture, take it apart and control the infestation.
    • They perform careful inspections along with non-chemical controls (heat treatments, vacuuming and steam treatments) and insecticide treatments.
    • The insecticides used are commercial products requiring special equipment and training.
    • Pest control services use heat treatment (118°F maintained for at least 70 minutes) in target areas.
    • All stages of bed bugs are killed when this is done properly.
    • Heat treatment does not prevent bed bugs from coming back into a home and reinfesting it.
    • Sometimes furniture is removed and heat treated in a container. But, it is not necessary to move or throw away your furniture or belongings, especially from an apartment or condominium.

    It is important to cooperate with a pest control service.

    To find a professional belonging to the National Pest Management Association, go to the Pest World website and type in your zip code in the search box under "Find a Professional."

    What you can do to help control an infestation

    When working with a pest management company there are some additional things you might have to do to help get rid of bed bugs.

    Using heat

    You can use your washing machine and dryer to kill bed bugs infesting clothes and other washable items.

    • Clothes laundered in hot water and/or dried in temperatures hotter than 122°F for 20 minutes will kill all stages of bed bugs.
    • This is typically the medium-high setting. If you are not sure what temperature your drier can reach, ask a professional to test it for you.
    • You can also heat curtains and other fabrics, rugs, shoes, backpacks, stuffed animals, toys and similar objects by drying them at medium-high for about 30 minutes for a full load.

    Using cold

    Cold temperatures can kill bed bugs if they are exposed to it long enough. All stages of bed bugs will be killed on objects left in a freezer at 0°F for 3 days.

    • Putting infested furniture outdoors during winter may kill some bed bugs.
    • Outdoor freezing temperatures will not always kill all of the bed bugs infesting an object. But, you can use the cold treatment to disable bed bugs until you decide what to do with the object.

    Encasements

    An encasement is a fabric covering that looks like a very large sack with a zipper and that completely fits around a mattress or box spring.

    They are useful when you want to protect a mattress you know is free of bed bugs (it has been heat treated or you have purchased a new mattress).

    • You can also use encasements on infested mattresses and box springs to trap the bed bugs inside them; you can keep using your bed as long as the encasements are not ripped or torn.
    • Buy encasements (from professional pest control services) that are specifically designed for protecting against bed bugs.

    Bed bug interceptors

    Bed bug interceptors are small plastic trays with an inner and outer ring. You can place them under the bed legs.

    Bed bugs that try to climb up from the floor to the bed become trapped in the outer well. Any bed bugs that try to climb down will become trapped in the center well.

    • Bed bug interceptors not only help to reduce the number of bed bugs that can reach the bed but also help determine whether bed bugs are present.
    • You can buy bed bug interceptors online, from pest management companies, or from retail stores.

    Insecticides

    • Do not try to treat bed bugs yourself. The insecticides available in over-the-counter products are not effective in controlling bed bugs.
    • Bug bombs (total release foggers) are not effective when treating bed bugs.
    • These products throw insecticide into the air and very little product comes in contact with bed bugs hiding in cracks and behind and under objects.
    • Bug bombs are potentially flammable if used incorrectly. It is easy for people to misuse or overuse bug bombs, and can result in unnecessary pesticide exposure.

    CAUTION:We strongly discourage you from trying to treat bed bugs yourself. But, if you decide to use a pesticide, it is very important to carefully read and understand the label before using and to follow all label directions. The product you use should be labeled for bed bugs.

    Bed Bug Life Cycle

    Bed bugs are nocturnal, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. These wingless insects have dorsoventrally flattened bodies that allow them to hide in areas such as floor cracks, carpets, beds and upholstered furniture.

    A bed bug’s life begins with an egg, grain like and milky white in color. Female bed bugs lay between one and five eggs each day and may lie up to 500 eggs within one lifetime. Eggs are laid singly or in clusters and are placed within tight cracks or crevices. The egg is approximately 1 mm in length and is comparable in size to two grains of salt. Within two weeks, eggs hatch and immature bed bugs begin immediately to feed.

    Nymphs

    These young bed bugs, or nymphs, pass through five molts before reaching maturity. Although nymphs appear similar to adults, they are smaller in size and are not yet sexually mature. Young nymphs are also yellow-white in color, while older nymphs and adults are reddish-brown. In order to complete a molting stage, each nymph requires a blood meal. At room temperature, nymphs molt and become adults within five weeks.

    Adults

    Upon reaching maturity, bed bug adults often make weekly feedings.


    Adult Bed Bug

    How Long Do They Live?
    The life span of a bed bug most commonly ranges from four to six months. However, some bed bugs may live up to a year under cool conditions and with no food.

    Bed Bug Control

    Cimex lectularius L.

    Learn what Bed Bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a Bed Bug Infestation.

    Find out how Bed Bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.

    Learn about Bed Bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.

    Learn how Orkin handles Bed Bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of Bed Bug extermination services.

    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?

    Have you ever wondered why bed bugs seem to spread so quickly, or why they show up in such big numbers once they form a colony in a home or building? It has everything to do with how bed bugs reproduce, and that’s exactly what you’re going to learn about in this article.

    First, you’ll find out how soon bed bugs reach adulthood and when they can begin reproducing. Then you’ll discover precisely how reproduction works for these insects. Finally, you’ll get in-depth information about bed bug eggs, including how many a female bug lays at once, how long the eggs take to hatch, and how often eggs are laid by bed bugs.

    Once you have this information, it will be easy to see how bed bug colonies grow and spread so quickly. You’ll also understand why bed bugs need to be treated swiftly and efficiently in order to prevent a full infestation. Continue reading to find out what you need to know about bed bug reproduction and eggs.

    At What Age or Stage Do Bed Bugs Begin To Reproduce?

    Counting bed bug age isn’t really like human age. Individual bed bugs don’t typically live for more than a single year, so their age is more commonly counted in days. That being said, each bed bug takes a slightly different amount of time from others in its colony in order to reach the various stages that lead up to adulthood.

    That’s because, for bed bugs, reaching the next stage in life depends upon getting a meal. A bed bug nymph, which is the stages of life that are equivalent to childhood and adolescence, goes through five stages before it becomes an adult. At each stage, it molts, or sheds its skin, and in order for that to happen, the bed bug must have a blood meal.

    Bed bugs cannot reproduce until they reach full adulthood, and that means going through all five nymph stages. The sixth and final stage is the age when they are fully mature and able to reproduce.

    What does that translate to in terms of time? On average, a bed bug, whether nymph or adult, feeds about once per week under ideal conditions. Given that molting schedule, a nymph can reach adulthood and begin reproducing in about 5 or 6 weeks. In reality, the time to adulthood can vary greatly.

    Some nymphs feed often enough to reach reproductive age in as little as 3 weeks. This usually occurs in their ideal conditions, which include a relatively warm environment and easily accessible human blood. In less than ideal conditions where the temperature is cooler or meals are less frequent, the nymphs can survive quite a while in between meals, stretching out their time before full maturity. In this case, it may take 4 months before a nymph is fully mature.

    How Do Bed Bugs Reproduce?

    Female bed bugs are fertilized by males and lay eggs. Male bed bugs take their cue to mate whenever they recognize that a recently fed bed bug is nearby, regardless of whether the passing bed bug is female. Nymphs and male bed bugs secrete a pheromone that attempts to prevent mature males from penetrating them. The occasional non-fertilizing mating session, however, does not stop the massive explosion of an established bed bug population, thanks to the female ability to lay multiple batches of eggs once fertilized.

    The actual reproductive process is called traumatic insemination, or hypodermic insemination. The male pierces any location on the abdomen of the other bed bug with a hardened sex organ and then releases sperm into the abdomen.

    How Many Eggs Do Bed Bugs Lay At Once?

    Each fertilized female bed bug can lay about 3 to 7 eggs a day, usually 1 at a time, and most lay around 250 eggs in their short lifetimes. A quirk of bed bug reproduction is that females that are mated more frequently, especially in a short period of time, develop scar tissue that makes it difficult to lay eggs. The result is that these females lay fewer eggs at a time.

    To prevent this, the fertilized females usually leave their original colony and find a new location with access to food. Once there, they will lay their eggs and start a new colony.

    After fertilization, the female insect can lay eggs for up to 7 weeks and usually lays multiple batches during this time. Even if she left for a new location, she can be fertilized by any of her male offspring after they reach maturity, which takes anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months.

    How Long Do Bed Bug Eggs Take To Hatch?

    The exact amount of time it takes for bed bug eggs to hatch varies depending upon the environment, especially the temperature. On average, eggs hatch in about 1 to 2 weeks, though it can sometimes take a little longer. Eggs will hatch sooner in warmer environments.

    The bugs usually lay their eggs somewhere hidden so they are safe. Additionally, each egg has a sticky, natural adhesive substance on its exterior, which keeps it in place and undisturbed. Bed bugs usually have a colony close to the host they feed on, and they will lay their eggs nearby, but in a place that is unlikely to be moved or disturbed.

    How Often Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs?

    Unlike many larger egg-laying animals, such as birds, bed bugs do not need to tend their eggs once they have lain them. What that means for your home is that they do not have to wait 2 weeks for one set of eggs to hatch before laying more. It also means that even if you get rid of all the living bugs, your infestation will return if you did not destroy all of the eggs. This can be quite a task given that the eggs are smaller than sesame seeds, often well-hidden in a dark space, and may be in a different location from the original colony.

    The eggs may also be somewhat spread out because of the habit of this bug to lay eggs one at a time. You cannot count on physical removal techniques, like vacuuming, to get rid of bed bug eggs.

    Female bed bugs that seek out a new location after fertilization have a greater chance to lay more eggs because they escape the trauma of further mating sessions. Additionally, female bed bugs need to have eaten recently in order to be appealing for a male to mate with, and they must continue feeding in order to lay the eggs they carry. It is possible for a fertilized female to lay 1 or 2 eggs every day.

    Summary

    How bed bugs reproduce seems somewhat haphazard, given the varying ages of maturity for bed bug nymphs and the lack of mate discrimination among males, as well as the damage caused by insemination. Despite all of this, bed bugs reproduce at an incredible rate, swiftly and silently taking over a home. Now that you understand just how easy it is for them to increase their numbers and spread to multiple colonies, you can see how important it is to destroy all bed bugs, including the eggs, if you intend to defeat an infestation.

    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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