Bed Bug Life Cycle: Life Span and Expectancy of Bed Bugs
The once almost-extinct bed bug has seen an incredible resurgence in recent years. The reasons for this resurgence include increased travel, higher resistance to modern pesticides, and the ban on the potent pesticide once used to treat them. Curious to know more about these resilient pests? Here’s what you need to know about the bed bug life span and expectancy.
What Is the Life Span of a Bed Bug?
The bed bug life span begins when a female bed bug lays an egg. Females lay anywhere from one to five eggs per day, which equals an equivalent of anywhere from 200-250 eggs during her life. As you can see, bed bugs can reproduce quite impressively in a short amount of time.
Once the egg is laid, the bed bug life span has officially begun. While fully mature bed bugs are much easier to see than eggs, it’s still possible to see bed bug eggs with the naked eye—as long as you know what you’re looking for. Bed bug eggs are recognizable due to their off-white color and oval shape. At just one millimeter in length, they are tiny—about the size of a half-grain of rice.
Up to two weeks may pass from the time when the female lays the egg to the time when it hatches.
After the egg hatches, the bed bug enters the next stage of its lifespan. At this point, it is known as a nymph. A nymph must pass through five distinct phases to become a fully-grown bed bug. It has to molt, or shed its exoskeleton, before moving to the next life stage.
To complete each molting stage, the nymph requires a feeding, or blood meal, which allows it to grow larger. Blood meals take five to ten minutes to complete, which is one reason why bed bugs feed on humans at night. The bite is painless, so you won’t realize the bed bug is feeding on you. Once finished, they retreat to the secluded areas they prefer.
Younger nymphs have a yellowish-white color, while later in their maturing process they begin to take on the reddish-brown color characteristic of their adult counterparts. This maturation process takes up to five weeks at the right temperature and conditions. However, the process may accelerate in warmer climates.
Once they have passed through the five molting stages, the bed bug reaches adulthood. At this point, they are fully sexually mature, and they feed every three to seven days. A typical bed bug reaches about 4.5 millimeters in length, and they are browner in color than nymphs. It may be difficult to distinguish a bed bug from other pests like ticks or beetles.
How Long Is the Life Span of a Bed Bug?
Under ideal conditions, bed bugs can live anywhere from six to twelve months, though this number can vary. They thrive when they have continued access to their food source and in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bed bugs are highly resilient, however. Even in the absence of food or while spending extended periods in cold temperatures, they have an amazing ability to survive. In the right temperatures, adult bed bugs can last for months at a time without feeding. They can even go up to a whole year without a meal, and nymphs can survive for weeks without one, too.
While the life expectancy of bed bugs isn’t exceptionally long, their lifespan lasts a sufficient amount of time to virally reproduce and wreak havoc on your belongings and emotional health.
What can shorten the life expectancy of bed bugs?
The life expectancy of bed bugs is between 2 and 4 months. However, if they do not get a blood meal they go into semi-hibernation. When that happens, they can live up to a year. The expert exterminators PestGuide works with understand this and know how to clear any infestation.
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