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Bed Bug Reproduction

Bed bug reproduction is a complicated process. Bed bugs must feed on blood in order to reproduce. Both male and female bed bugs must feed at least every 14 days in order to reproduce. Bed bugs can live up to 12 to 18 months. A female is capable of laying from one to twelve eggs per day, but typically lays 5-7 per week. Over the course of her lifetime, a female can lay 200-500 eggs. Females will lay eggs almost continuously as long as she has access to a blood meal. An infestation from a single pregnant female can rise to 5,000 bed bugs within six months.

Egg hatch in 6 to 17 days and nymphs can immediately begin to feed. Nymphs require a blood meal in order to molt and reach the next level of development. Nymphs or instars pass through five molting periods before they become adults capable of reproducing. Development time from egg to adult is greatly affected by temperature. At 86 degrees, it takes about 21 days for an egg to hatch, go through nymphal development and reach adulthood. At 65 degrees, the process takes about 120 days.

Bed bugs are hematophagous, meaning that they feed on blood. They obtain their blood meals by biting the host using their serrated beak or rostrum and injecting saliva that contains anesthetic and anticoagulant properties. The bed bug will take a blood meal only every 5 to 10 days. 

Bed bugs reproduce by a tricky process called “traumatic insemination,” in which the male stabs the female’s abdomen and injects sperm into the wound. During their life, they’ll mate with multiple partners, and once impregnated, a female bed bug can lay up to five eggs a day and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in her lifetime.

Because bed bugs live solely on blood, having it available at all times is a necessity. In fact, they’ll consume three or more times their body weight in blood during one feeding.

Unfortunately for you, that blood could be yours. The bites you receive are not always the hardened bumps that many people associate with bed bugs. Sometimes they can be red, flat and circular, or raised bumps. You may even see what looks like a scratch or pinpoint bleeding spots. Since bed bugs feed on blood only every five to 10 days (and only do so for 3 to 15 minutes), they may go unnoticed for quite some time!

Female bed bugs lay eggs almost daily during their lifetime. The eggs are 1 mm long and have a pearly white appearance. They are sticky when first laid and can become attached to surfaces. In a few days, the egg will harden into a shell-like capsule and be less sticky.

Female bed bugs can lay up to five eggs per day. At this rate, a female bed bug will produce 200 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are tiny and white, about the size of a speck of dust.

The entire life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a month if conditions are favorable; under normal room temperatures and with an adequate blood meal, it can take a little longer. As they molt and grow, they shed their skins and leave them behind wherever they’re hiding.

Throughout the life cycle, bed bugs must have blood meals on which to feed. Without food, nymphs will die within two weeks and adults will die within one month.

Bed bug eggs hatch in about 6 to 10 days, and the nymphs (baby bed bugs) go through 5 molts before they reach maturity. Nymphs can feed on human blood, but they need a meal of blood before each molt. Bed bug nymphs can live for several months without feeding.

Adults can live for more than a year without feeding, but if proper conditions exist, bed bugs usually feed every 5 to 10 days.

Bed bugs have a three-stage life cycle. The nymphs molt five times over the course of a couple months before becoming adults. 

The nymphs look like miniature versions of the adult bed bug, but they are a bright red color instead of brown. 

Within minutes after feeding, the nymphs turn dark red and begin to swell as they digest their meal. Once they reach adulthood, they can survive for up to a year without feeding. They can also go into a state of dormancy similar to hibernation until conditions are favorable for them to feed again.

Got a problem with bed bugs? Call the bed bug exterminators.