The Life Cycle of Bed Bugs


There is no greater bug that strikes fear in the hearts of homeowners like bedbugs. In the past few years, areas like Hamilton, ON has seen infestations reaching near epidemic proportions.

Bed bugs are highly noxious, nocturnal, reddish brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. They are wingless insects and have flattened bodies, allowing them to hide in small areas such as mattress encasement’s, floor cracks, carpets, bedding, mattresses and even upholstered furniture.

A bed bug’s life begins as an egg which is grain-like and milky-white in colour. They reproduce in an unusual fashion. Instead of copulation by connection of genitals, bed bug males traumatically inseminate the females.

Female bedbugs lay from one to twelve eggs per day, and the eggs are deposited on rough surfaces or in crack and crevices. The eggs are coated with a sticky substance so they adhere to the substrate. Eggs hatch in 6 to 17 days, and nymphs can immediately begin to feed. They require a blood meal in order to molt.

A single bed bug egg is approximately one millimeter in length and is comparable in size to two grains of salt.

Young bed bugs, or nymphs, pass through five molts (growing stages) before reaching maturity. Nymphs can appear similar to adults but are smaller in size and are not yet sexually mature.

Nymphs are also yellow-white in colour, while adults are reddish-brown. In order to complete a molting (growing) stage, a nymph requires a blood meal. Nymphs can molt and become adults within five weeks at room temperatures.

The average lifespan of the bed bug is 6-12 months and they will feed every 10 days or so during this time.

Bed bugs can go without feeding for 20 to 400 days, depending on temperature and humidity. Older stages of nymphs can survive longer without feeding than younger ones, and adults have survived without food for more than 400 days in the laboratory at low temperatures

If you believe you have identified a bedbug within your home, or place of business contact your local pest control company immediately to schedule a bed bug inspection.

Bed Bug Life Cycle

The life cycle of a bed bug is shown in the photograph below. During its lifetime, a bed bug will go through the following stages (Starting from the top left, moving counterclockwise)

  • Eggs (1mm).
  • 1st stage nymph (1.5 mm)
  • 2nd stage nymph (2 mm).
  • 3rd stage nymph (2.5 mm)
  • 4th stage nymph (3 mm)
  • 5th stage nymph (4.5 mm)
  • Unfed adult female
  • Unfed adult male.

Keep your home safe during the cold months ahead by calling a Truly Nolen Canada pest control professional to schedule an inspection. 1-888-832-4705. Proudly serving: Dundas, Ancaster, Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington.