Bed Bug Life Cycle

It is important to understand the bed bug life cycle so you can better handle an infestation problem. It isn’t very likely you will know when or even where your first infestation happened, but if you assume the time frame from which the first infestation came, you can get an idea of how large the infestation is.

Female bed bugs will lay up to 12 eggs per day and will place them in a specific location like a small crack or groove.  She may also place the eggs on a rough surface because it is sticky and the eggs will stay in place.

It takes 6 to 17 days for the eggs to hatch. The baby bed bugs are called nymphs and their first order of business is to feed, they need their first meal quickly for proper development. They will molt after their first blood meal. The diagram below shows the Bed Bug Life Cycle:

Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs will go through a total of 5 molting cycles before they reach adult size and in most cases from start to finish,the egg will go from being a small egg to a full grown adult in as little as 21 days.

In order for an egg to hatch, the nymph to molt and for the bed bug to grow, the temperature needs to be between 65 and 85 degrees. If this temperature is not met, the maturity of the bed bug is delayed. A temperature of 85 degrees will result in a bed bug becoming mature in about 21 days but a temperature of 65 degrees will take much longer, up to 120 days for the maturity of the bed bugs.

From the time the egg hatches, the main goal of the nymph is to find food, it needs a blood meal in order to grow and molt. The time that it takes for the nymph to reach maturity is directly related to the amount of food that it has.

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?

Unfortunately for the human population, bed bugs are likely to make it through the nymph period and into adulthood. The main reason for this is the fact that they can live several months without eating anything! While they like to feed every 5 to 10 days, they can survive several months with nothing.

Once bed bugs reach maturity, the females will begin to reproduce and once they reach their adult life, bed bugs live between 12 to 18 months, depending on how much food they receive.

Bed bugs can produce eggs at least three times per year so when you factor these things together, you can understand just how large an infestation can be when it just occured only a few months back.

2 Comments so far

  1. Christopher Townsend on September 26th, 2010

    My wife and I have an apartment over our garage. Our last tenent advised us he had a bedbug problem. We dont yet have them in our attatched dwelling but fear we will. We have spent a ton of money so far treating the appartment and our home (as a preventative messure).The tenent was evicted so that we could slow down breeding of these things while we treated the entire building. We have set balloons as a carbon dioxide source and glue traps, but have not seen a one. We have read that bed bugs need certain temprature to breed, and they prefere tempered climates, so my question is will freezing temps kill them as we live in the northeast? If so we can just simply shut the heat down for a short time.

  2. admin on September 28th, 2010

    Hi Christopher, to answer your question, yes, you can kill bedbugs with freezing temperatures (below 32 degrees F). Keeping your apartment/garage at freezing temperatures for several days should kill the bed bugs if there are any.

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