Among the most unnerving pests that can be found in the home, bed bugs are flat, oval, reddish-brown/mahogany-colored insects that feed on blood from humans and other warm-blooded animals. They are usually nocturnal pests, feeding when their hosts are asleep, and are excellent at hiding in tiny or narrow spaces, such as in wall/floor cracks, in beds, under carpets and inside upholstered furniture. They grow from eggs to nymphs to adults and molt several times along the way.

Eggs

One female bed bug can lay around 500 eggs in a lifetime, meaning that all it may take to begin an infestation is one pregnant bed bug. The female can lay one to five eggs per day. The eggs are milky white, narrow, grainlike and about 1 mm in length (similar in size to two grains of salt). They are usually laid in tight spaces like cracks and crevices to prevent them from being found, and may be laid singly or in clusters. Bed bugs remain in their eggs for about two weeks before hatching, so you may not know you have an infestation until they hatch and begin to feed (though adults must feed before laying eggs).

Nymphs

Once the eggs hatch into baby bed bugs, known as nymphs, they immediately begin looking for food in the form of blood meals. They may appear reddish-brown, similar to adults, once they have fed, but may also be yellowish-white or colorless if they have not. Either way, they will be much smaller than adults and are unable to reproduce. After five molts (each one requiring a blood meal), they will become adults, growing in size from about 1 mm to 4-5 mm. This process usually takes a minimum of 3 weeks.

Adults

Once bed bugs are mature, they will be about ¼ inch in length. They will also be able to reproduce, and will feed approximately once a week. Evidence of their presence in the home includes blood spots on furniture and bed linens, molted exoskeletons, tiny pieces of brown fecal matter and collections of red, itchy bites on skin (though bites may not be an indicator of an infestation unless other evidence is present). As adults, they may also attempt to move to new locations by hitching rides on clothing, in luggage, in boxes and in other receptacles that people carry from place to place.

Lifespan

Bed bugs can typically live about four to six months, though they are also known to “hibernate” without food and therefore extend their lifespan to about a year.

Bed Bug Control

A bed bug infestation can be incredibly difficult to eradicate due to their ability to hide and switch living environments in response to pest control treatments (especially localized DIY solutions). However, the advanced techniques, efficiency and proficiency of pest control professionals are able to eradicate them. Dodson Pest Control has over 75 years of experience in this area, so we can take care of your bed bug problem and provide you with peace of mind. Contact us today to for more information or to schedule a free inspection!