Bed bugs are red-brown pests that feed on the human blood and on the other warm-blooded animals, such as dogs and cats. They are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. They have flat bodies that enable them to keep out of sight in areas, like upholstered furniture, beds, carpets, and floor cracks.
A bed bug’s life cycle starts with an egg, a grain-like, milky white in colour. Female bed bugs can lay more than one egg daily. They can lay up to 500 eggs in one lifetime as well. These eggs are laid individually or in clumps, and they are set within tight crevices and cracks. The size of an egg is about 1mm in size and is comparable to that of the size of two grains of salt. Within two weeks, the eggs hatch and start to feed on the human blood.
The immature bed bugs, otherwise known as nymphs, will undergo five stages of transformations before they become mature. While nymphs seem similar to adult bed bugs, they are smaller in terms of length and size, and they are not yet ready for multiplication. The older nymphs are reddish-brown in colour, while the younger nymphs are yellow-white. So as to complete the moulting stage, each younger bed bug demands a blood meal. Young bed bugs can moult and turn mature in 5 weeks at room temperature.
When reaching maturity, adult bed bugs feed on a weekly basis. In addition, the lifespan of an adult bed bug can last up to six months. However, some of them can live up to a year in cool conditions with and without weekly feedings.
For bed bug sizes:
- an egg is about 1.1mm long;
- the first instar nymph is 1.5mm long;
- the second instar nymph is 2mm long;
- the third is 2.5mm long;
- the fourth is 3mm long;
- the fifth is 4.5mm long, and
- The adult bed bug is about 5.5mm long.