Show Me Bed Bug Eggs

The BedBug Life Cycle

Understanding the bedbug life cycle is vital if you want to get rid of bed bugs! Get quick facts about bed bug eggs, nymphs and adults; watch the video to see what they look like in real life; and learn what you need to know about all life stages to successfully identify and kill them.

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BedBug Life Cycle Quick Facts

While you may not be all that interested in their biology and behavior, here are 8 quick facts about the bedbug life cycle you should know:

  • You can see all stages of bed bugs (even eggs) with the naked eye
  • An adult female can lay 200-500 bed bug eggs in her lifetime
  • Bed bug eggs are harder to kill than nymphs (baby bed bugs) and adults
  • Bedbugs can grow from a hatched egg to a full adult in about a month
  • Baby bed bugs cast their “skins” (exoskeletons, technically) as they grow
  • Bed bugs need a blood meal to live, to grow, and to reproduce
  • Baby bed bugs may feed as much as one time per day
  • Adult bed bugs can live up to 18 months without feeding!

For a look at live bed bugs in all stages of their life cycle, click on the video below. You can jump down to the full discussion of the key things you should know about the bedbug life cycle in order to get rid annoying little buggers successfully by clicking here.

Bed Bug Life Cycle Video

I love this video because it show all stages of bed bugs (including eggs) in real life so you can get a better idea of what they look like. It also shows what cast skins look like which is important because they are one of the 9 symptoms you should look for to figure out if you have a bed bug infestation. One note though, the nymphs (baby bed bugs) in this video still have remnants of a blood meal in them so they look darker that they would if they had not been fed. For more photos of baby bed bugs, check out our bed bug picture gallery.

The video does start out a little goofy and may not seem that serious at first, but entomologist Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian knows his stuff. Its actually jam packed with useful information about what bed bugs look like in all stages of their life cycle. Definitely worth the2 minutesit takes to watch!

This video is shared via the Bed Bug Answers Channel on YouTube. For more helpful videos, visit (and like!) us on YouTube 🙂

Keep reading for a more detailed look at each stage of the bedbug life cycle.

Bed Bug Eggs

What do bed bug eggs look like? Believe it or not, even bed bug eggs are visible to the human eye although they can be hard to see.

Personally, I think bed bug eggs look like little pieces of rice. But they can be compared in size to a large grain of salt as shown in the video above. They are tiny (about 1mm long) and are very light in color – ranging from translucent (almost clear) to a milky sort of white color.

This is why a magnifying glass can be helpful when you are looking for signs of bed bugs. They have a sticky film which gives them a kind of shiny appearance and helps them stick to surfaces until they hatch. More photos of bed bug eggs.

It takes about 6-10 days for a bed bug egg to hatch. The hatched egg looks clearer in color and kind of like tiny deflated balloon. Once an egg has been hatched is not shiny any more and has a dried out appearance.

Its important to note that many of the treatments that will kill bed bugs will not kill their eggs. The only things that are known to effectively kill eggs are heat and gas fumigation. This is something to keep in mind when choosing bed bug pest control options.

Fear not. If you can kill the babies before they reach adulthood and reproduce. you can stop the bedbug life cycle in its tracks!

Baby Bed Bugs (Nymphs)

The first thing a newly hatched baby bed bug does is search for a blood meal. Baby bed bugs (technically called “nymphs”) go through 5 stages of development instars. So a 1st instar nymph is a “newborn” and a 5th instar nymph is a “bedbug teen”, so to speak.

What do baby bed bugs look like?Well, basically they look like mini versions of adult bed bugs, but they are very light in color – almost clear.

Like the eggs, they start out very tiny (approx. 1mm), about the size and color of a sesame seed and grow to about 5mm (Вј inch) as adults.

The blood is clearly visible in a nymph that has just fed.They look like tiny swollen purple balloons!

As baby bed bugs develop toward adulthood, they do get darker in color.

They can feed as often as once every day and they have to have a blood meal to grow from one stage to the next. They can also survive months without feeding, but they basically get stuck at whatever developmental stage of the bedbug life cycle they’re in until they get their next meal.

They develop through a process called molting. Baby bed bugs literally “crawl out of their skins” as they move from one stage to the next. Cast skins (some people call them bed bug shells) are one of the key symptoms of a bed bug infestation. You can also see more pictures of cast skins here in the bed bug picture gallery.

Adult Bed Bugs

Adult bed bugs are about Вј inch long, about the size and shape of an apple seed. They are extremely flat like a business card or a credit card, which allows them to hide in very surprising places.

They are brown to reddish-brown in color and become more shiny and purple-ish red after they’ve fed. As they feed, they swell up into a capsule like shape – kind of like little blood balloons. (Okay, I know that’s gross – but its an accurate description). See more adult bedbug photos here.

On average, they feed about every 3-10 days. Again the estimates vary, but it most experts agree that it takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes for an adult bed bug to fill up on blood at one feeding. They must have a blood meal to reproduce.

Female bed bugs can lay an average of 3-5 eggs per day. The jury seems to be out on exactly how many bed bug eggs an adult female can lay in her lifetime, but the estimates range from 200 – 500!

Bedbug Life Cycle & Life Span Factors

The full growth cycle from egg to reproducing adult can range from 1 month to 4 months. Two factors that affect the time-table of the bedbug’s life cycle aretemperatureand theavailability of food(blood).

In warmer conditions bed bugs bed bugs mature more rapidly and are likely to feed more frequently if there is a source of blood. In cooler temperatures, bed bugs can go into semi-hibernation allowing them to live much longer – even without feeding.

In the absence of a host on which to feed, bed bug nymphs can still live for a few months. But they can’t develop from one stage to the next. Basically their growth is “stunted” until they can get another meal.

Adult bed bugs can be surprisingly hardy. Under the right conditions, they can survive up to 18 months without feeding. T hat’s right, a year-and-a-half!

This is why sleeping somewhere else, like a friend or relative’s house, will not solve your problem . When you return, they will still be there waiting. and hungry.

Hopefully, this overview has made you better prepared to identify and get rid of bed bugs.

Want to explore the bedbug life cycle further?This fact sheet from the Medical Entomology Department of the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research has lots of useful info includinga greatphoto infographicof the the bed bug life cycle by Dr. Stephen Doggett.

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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 Eggs

Bed Bug Eggs

Bed bug eggs are about the size of a small dust speck.В They are off-white and are most easily seen under a magnifying glass.В Female bed bugs lay eggs in batches of 10-50 eggs, and can lay up to 500 eggs in a lifetime.В Eggs are initially covered in a glue-like substance that allows them to stick to surfaces.В Bed bugs are most commonly found around a mattress, and 85% of infestations are located in a bed. Bed bugs are sometimes found in carpet near the bed. Females prefer to lay their eggs on rough surfaces, such as on a mattress or in carpet.В Bed bug eggs hatch after an average of ten days.В The eggshell is commonly left in place after the nymph has hatched.В Maturation to an adult bed bug can be as short as 5 weeks, assuming that temperatures are moderate.

Finding bed bug eggs indicates a serious infestation.В A single female can quickly populate a dwelling.В If left untreated, bed bug populations can quickly increase, causing human inhabitants to be the subject of blood meals.В Removing all visible bed bugs may not solve an infestation, because the eggs often escape notice.

The casing of the egg renders some treatment methods useless.В When purchasing insecticides or consulting with a pest control company, make sure that the treatment plan not only targets adults, but also targets eggs.В Freezing and extreme heat are effective at killing bed bug eggs.В Insecticides are available that kill bed bug eggs through desiccation, which is the drying up of the moisture in the egg.

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More Articles

Early Signs of Bed Bugs

Catching a bed bug infestation while it is localized to a small area is imperative — these pests will spread throughout an entire building and wreak havoc on your house, health and wallet. Bed bugs will feed on birds and mammals but appear to prefer human blood when presented with the choice. [start previewing here].

Bites on Your Body

A typical sign of bed bug infestation is a cluster of about three to five small bites that appear to form a zig-zag pattern on your skin and may not show up for days or even weeks (2). Biting usually lasts three to ten minutes and is achieved using a long beak for blood extraction. Although these bites rarely require medical attention or become infected, they can form unpleasantly itchy welts that may cause you to lose sleep (2). Due to the infinitesimal size of these creatures, bite marks are often confused with nibbles from other insects or spiders (2). Bites may also be mistaken for common skin conditions that produce itchy rashes. Familiarizing yourself with bite pattern and other signs of invasion is critical in saving you from major trouble (2).

Checking for Infestation

If you observe specks of what appear to be blood, rust or tar on upholstered furniture, mattresses, bedding or mattress pads, you may have the start of a bed bug problem. (1, 2). Bed bugs shed an outer shell in five of six stages in their life cycle, so watch for reddish-brown or yellow shells in couch seams, throughout your mattress and box spring and on any upholstered furniture (1, 2, 3, 4). Small blackish dots of excrement may be seen in similar areas. Females lay white, seed-sized eggs in any secluded cracks they can find (2). Once your home or office is heavily infested, it is time to check electrical outlets, appliances, curtains, loose wall paper, framed pictures and between drawer and wall joints (1).

Possible Aroma

Bed bugs communicate to one another by secreting chemical signals that have a musty, sweet odor (2). According to Michael F. Potter, an expert entomologist at the University of Kentucky, this scent is not easily detected and shouldn’t be relied upon for early detection — if you are able to smell them, you are already way in over your head and infestation has become extreme 3. Keeping an eye out for physical clues — shells, eggs, dark spots — will help you determine the quickest and most effective course of action (1, 2, 3).

Statistics and Bed Bugs

Until recently, the incidence and prevalence of bed bug invasion in the United States had largely improved after World War II to the credit of improved hygiene practices and use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) (3). The last decade has seen a resurgence of infestation partly due to international travel, immigration, changes in extermination protocol and use of different insecticides (3, 4). According to the 2011 Bugs without Borders Survey, between 2010 and 2011, the number of cases rose by 15 percent or more in college dorms, nursing homes, offices, hospitals and public transport (5). Hotels and movie theaters saw an increase of 12 to 13 percent (5).

Extermination and Warnings

While 25 percent of people reporting infestation attempt to eradicate bed bugs on their own, pest control providers stress that this is not a problem you can handle alone (5). Never spray pesticides on mattresses, couches or areas where children and pets reside (7). When you come home from traveling, take special care to wash clothing and bedding on high heat and never bring box springs, mattresses, bed frames, or upholstered furniture inside your house. (3, 7). If you notice the warning signs of bed bugs or suspect you have been bitten, contact professional pest control specialists and make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist. Bed bugs are an inconvenient problem that is better dealt with sooner than later 5.

Catching a bed bug infestation while it is localized to a small area is imperative — these pests will spread throughout an entire building and wreak havoc on your house, health and wallet. Bed bugs shed an outer shell in five of six stages in their life cycle, so watch for reddish-brown or yellow shells in couch seams, throughout your mattress and box spring and on any upholstered furniture . Females lay white, seed-sized eggs in any secluded cracks they can find . Until recently, the incidence and prevalence of bed bug invasion in the United States had largely improved after World War II to the credit of improved hygiene practices and use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane . Bed bugs are an inconvenient problem that is better dealt with sooner than later.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs (picture on the left) likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation.

If you do identify bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of bed bug treatment.

Pest Stats

Color

Unfed adults are mahogany; engorged bed bugs are red-brown. Nymphs are nearly colorless.

Shape

Flat, broad oval when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed.

Adults are 1/4 inch long. Nymphs range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.

Antennae

Region

Found throughout U.S.

Bed Bug Photos

Photo of an unfed adult bed bug on the skin

Photo of a male and female bed bugs with eggs

Photo of a bed bug to scale on a penny

Close-up photo of the head and thorax of a bed bug

Photo of a bed bug on human skin

Photo of an adult bed bug on a piece of velcro

Photo of bed bug skins – a telltale sign of a bed bug infestation

Photo of a baby bed bug and fecal spots

Snapshot of the appearance and distribution of bed bugs

Videos View All Videos

This video will take you on an educational trip through the history of bed bugs, teach you how to be vigilant to minimize your risk of encountering them and how to effectively deal with this resilient pest if you have an infestation.

Watch this demonstration on the proper way to inspect for bed bugs.

Here are some tips to avoid bringing bed bugs inside your home after traveling.

Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. If you are bitten by a bed bug, the most common threat is from the bite-mark itself, which can turn into a large, raised, itchy welt. For more on this blood-sucking pest, check out the bed bug pest guide.

Bed bugs are NOT known to transmit disease to humans. They also do not transmit MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. For more information on bed bugs, visitAll Things Bed Bugs.

Concerned about bed bugs and disease? Dr. Parada assures us there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit disease to humans. Learn more about bed bugs here.

Think you may have bed bug bites? Dr. Parada explains the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites, which can be difficult to tell. Learn more about bed bug bites here.

How do I know if I have bed bugs? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), shares some advice. Visit All Things Bed Bugs for more information about this elusive pest.

Why are bed bugs so hard to control? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), has the answer! Learn more about bed bugs in the All Things Bed Bugs hub.

This public service announcement highlights the dangers of bed bug infestations. It features close up footage of bed bugs feedings on human skin.

Bed bugs (picture on the left) likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation.

If you do identify bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of bed bug treatment.

Pest Stats

Color

Unfed adults are mahogany; engorged bed bugs are red-brown. Nymphs are nearly colorless.

Shape

Flat, broad oval when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed.

Adults are 1/4 inch long. Nymphs range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.

Antennae

Region

Found throughout U.S.

Videos View All Videos

This video will take you on an educational trip through the history of bed bugs, teach you how to be vigilant to minimize your risk of encountering them and how to effectively deal with this resilient pest if you have an infestation.

Watch this demonstration on the proper way to inspect for bed bugs.

Here are some tips to avoid bringing bed bugs inside your home after traveling.

Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. If you are bitten by a bed bug, the most common threat is from the bite-mark itself, which can turn into a large, raised, itchy welt. For more on this blood-sucking pest, check out the bed bug pest guide.

Bed bugs are NOT known to transmit disease to humans. They also do not transmit MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. For more information on bed bugs, visitAll Things Bed Bugs.

Concerned about bed bugs and disease? Dr. Parada assures us there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit disease to humans. Learn more about bed bugs here.

Think you may have bed bug bites? Dr. Parada explains the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites, which can be difficult to tell. Learn more about bed bug bites here.

How do I know if I have bed bugs? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), shares some advice. Visit All Things Bed Bugs for more information about this elusive pest.

Why are bed bugs so hard to control? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), has the answer! Learn more about bed bugs in the All Things Bed Bugs hub.

This public service announcement highlights the dangers of bed bug infestations. It features close up footage of bed bugs feedings on human skin.

Habits

Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switchplates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.

Habitat

So where do bed bugs live? Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Bed bugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, busses and trains.

Threats

Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.

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