VECTOR: None.    

       TRANSMISSION: Contact with the insect.   

       GEOGRAPHY: Worldwide.   

       TREATMENT: Environment must be rid of the insects by way of pesticides, controlled atmospheres, biological control with predatory species, or traditional methods such as certain plants. Skin can be treated with topical cream or antihistamine.   

       PREVENTION: Proper sanitation, reduce home clutter, and avoid contact with insects of Family Cimicidae.   

       ORGANISM Bed Bugs are small insects that feed on the warm blood of mammals. Bed Bugs feed by way of sucking mouth parts, just as their fellow members of Order Hempitera do as well. Adults grow to 4 - 5 mm in length and 1.5 - 3 mm wide. The name ‘bed bug’ is derived from the insect’s preferred habitat infesting houses and especially beds or other common areas where people may sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts, who mostly notice the presence of bed bugs after the appearance of an itchy rash on their skin.   

       SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION Animalia – Arthropoda – Insecta – Hemiptera – Cimicidae.    

       LIFE CYCLE The male fertilizes the female Bed Bug by piercing her body cavity with hypodermic genitalia and depositing semen into her body cavity. The female will then lay her eggs in the surrounding environment of the preferred feeding location.    

       DISEASE In general Bed Bugs are only noticed after they feed on a host and have departed, leaving an itchy rash or papules at the site of feeding.    

       SYMPTOMS Bed bug bites are difficult to diagnose due to the variability in bite response between people, and due to the change in skin reaction for the same person over time. Bed bugs are responsible for loss of sleep, discomfort, disfiguring from numerous bites and occasionally bites may become infected.


       How do Bed Bugs get into your home?

·        Bed Bugs can be transported into an uninfested home by you or other people.

·       If you are traveling, be wary of any hidden infestations in the home or hotel you are staying at.

·       When purchasing used furniture, check the enviroment and the piece thoroughly before bringing it home.

·       Bed frames and matresses make excellent places for Bed Bugs and their eggs to hide. 

·       Bed Bugs also hide in luggage, clothing, pillows, boxes, and any other container when moving between places. 

·       Bed bugs will move betwen apartments via cracks and voids in adjoining walls as well as holes for pipes and wires.


       The Life Cycle of a Bed Bug


       The Bedbug life cycle starts with an egg. After birth the bed bug will move through 5 instars or stages, ending with adulthood.  While they are moving through the 5 stages they are referred to as a nymph.

       In order to move from stage to stage during the lifecycle of a bed bug,  a bed bug needs to feed on a mammal. They prefer human blood, but will feed on other available animals such as a pet or bat. They can feed several times during each stage and as much as 1x per day. As the bed bug moves from each stage or instar they will molt as they grow.

       A bed bug will impale its human host at night to withdraw blood, although if a bedbug has gone without feeding, they might try and feed during the day.  A nymph will look for a blood meal right after hatching from an egg.

       Room temperate plays a role in how fast bedbugs move through the life cycle.  If the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees F, the bed bug takes approximately 4 to 5 weeks at 83-90 degrees F to move from egg, through the juvenile or nymph stages, and to adulthood.  Three generations of bed bugs could be born in a year. The lifespan of an adult is 10 to  11 months, although they could live for a year without feeding.

bedbug life cycle

Lifecycle of Bed Bugs


       Bedbug Life Cycle - Time to Complete 1 Generation

       As mentioned, the rate that bed bugs move through their lifecycle is based on the temperature of the room they area living in. Higher temperatures (80 degrees F) slow down bed bug growth.  Bed bugs and their eggs are killed at 114 degrees F.

lifecycle of bed bugs

Speed of Lifecycle of the Bed Bug


       Bedbug Eggs

       A female bed bug will lay 1 to 3 eggs per day and 200 in a lifetime.  The bedbug eggs stick to areas where they are placed and are therefore difficult to remove with a vacuum.  The eggs are approximately 1/16 inch and are oval.  They are white/yellow in color.

       Bedbug Eggs take approximately six to ten days to hatch.  

       Here's a great video showing abed bug hatching from a bed bug egg:

Bedbug Video - Bed Bug Hatching from Egg


picture of bed bug eggs
Picture of Bed Bug Eggs

       The bedbug eggs are the size of a pin head, are white/yellow in color and oval as shown below.

picture bed bug eggs
Picture Bed Bug Eggs on Surface


       Bed Bug Nymph

       As mentioned, after birth, a "baby bed bug" is referred to as a nymph.  These nymphs move through 5 stages and molt as they move from stage to stage.

       Here's video of a colony of bed bug nymphs and adults:

Bed Bug Nymph Video and Adults in Colony


       John F. Anderson PHD

       Distinguished Scientist

       CT Agricultural Experiment Station


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