Life stages and cycles of bed bugs

Because bed bugs spread so quickly, you must act fast if you discover an infestation. They typically hide and bite when you’re relaxing, so you’re more likely to detect an infestation by the traces they leave behind. To help you recognize these telltale signs, here’s an overview of the bed bug’s life cycle and the traces they leave behind at each stage.

Stage 1: Egg

Bed bug eggs are white and only about the size of a pinhead. Adult females can produce hundreds of eggs in their lifetime, laying one or more daily. When released, the eggs are sticky and, therefore, adhere to whatever surface they land on. The eggs hatch within one to two weeks of being laid. While a single egg may be undetectable, you may find them in tiny clusters.

Stage 2: Nymph

When bed bug nymphs emerge from their egg, they’re straw-coloured and about a third to half the size of a sesame seed. As the nymph develops into an adult, it sheds its skin — a process called moulting — five times. Each moult requires the nymph to consume blood to fuel the process. When the conditions are suitable, the nymph can transition through these five moults to adult form within a month and begin reproducing.

Each time the nymph moults, they leave their shed exoskeleton behind, a telltale sign you have a bed bug infestation.

Stage 3: Adult

Adult bed bugs have flat, oval bodies about the size of a lentil and the colour of an apple seed. They can live up to ten months at this stage, producing new eggs daily. In colder conditions, adult bed bugs can survive over a year without feeding. But even at room temperature, they can survive for months without consuming blood. That’s why removing their food source is insufficient and temporarily vacating your home and waiting for them to die off won’t work. Bed bugs prefer human blood but will also bite cats, dogs, birds, and rodents. They can’t be managed with conventional insect repellents that you’d use against ticks or mosquitos. And sleeping with the lights on won’t help; when they’re hungry, bed bugs will come out of their dark hiding places for a meal.

Bed bug pest management professionals in Western Canada

The experts at Poulin’s Pest Control have the tools and the knowledge to eliminate bed bugs and prevent a recurrence. We serve residential and commercial clients in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Contact us today for fast and effective bed bug treatment.

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