Life Cycle of a Bed Bug?

Bed bug infestation was common during the Second World War. People believe that they were eradicated; however, these pests have made a comeback since the 1990s.

Today, having bed bugs is a common problem, especially in developing countries. Bed bug infestation can occur at any place such as college dormitories, prisons, hotels, motels, shelters, or apartments.

Get Rid of Bed Bugs Guide

Many people think that they occur in dirty places, but it’s a wrong concept. You can find bed bugs in clean places as well. The bed bug is a tiny creature that is difficult to see at first glance.

Although bed bugs are small, they are still problematic. Their bites can irritate you, and if you are not so careful, you may spread them throughout your home. The bed bugs you have in your home may be in one of three stages of life: adult, nymph, and eggs.

Read More: Bed Bugs Ultimate Guide

Life Cycle of a BedBug

How Big Are Adult Bed Bugs?

  • The adult bed bug is the ultimate stage of their life cycle.
  • They will grow to reach the length of 6.5 mm long, making it visible to the naked eye.
  • Their size is approximately equal to an apple seed.
  • They even look like a seed with legs. They have a brown color with a flat, long, and oval-shaped body.
  • They can change their body size when they are recently fed. Their color turns from brown to reddish-brown after feeding.

Shape & Color Change?

  • Bed bugs depend on a blood diet; they mostly rely on human blood.
  • They can live for a long time without feeding.
  • A bed bug can live on one feed for a few months or up to a year in the right conditions.
  • Their brown color turns to reddish after feeding the human blood.
  • If you take a vacation and they can’t hear for a while, conclude they metabolize their food slowly.

How Big Are Bed Bug Nymphs?

These are baby bed bugs recently hatched from eggs and have not fed enough to grow into a full-size adult yet. It’s nearly impossible to see a nymph with a naked eye.

  • They are smaller than adult bed bugs, and their bodies are not brown yet.
  • They are translucent, which means that they can blend into their surroundings very well.
  • Nymphs only start to grow into adults when they have their first feed. However,  nymph doesn’t need to bite after their hatching. A nymph can wait for weeks or even months before it feeds for the first time.
  • Once they start to take feed, get a bit of color in their body.
  • It may be slightly rounder in shape.
  • They are still hard to see for some time.
  • Nymphs need to feed three to five times before they can become an adult.
  • They could be drifting around your house for approximately one year before you even notice them.

Nymphs Growth in Length

  • 1st stage —1.5mm
  • 2nd stage —2 mm
  • 3rd stage —2.5 mm
  • 4th stage —3 mm
  • 5th stage — 4.5 mm

How Big Are Bed Bug Eggs?

The adult females laid their eggs, and bed bugs hatched from these eggs. The eggs are nearly impossible to see unless they are right in front of your nose because they only stretch the size of a pinhead. The female bed bugs can only lay one to five eggs per day. Throughout their lifespan, a female can lay a total of 500 eggs. Their eggs are approximately 1 mm in length with white color. An egg will mark with a small eyespot after five days.

Can a Bed Bug’s Actual Size Change?

The average size of an adult bed bug ranges from ¼ to 3/16 of an inch in length. Their flat body looks significantly bigger after a blood feed. So, their size depends on their feeding habits, whether a bed bug is fed or not. After feeding, their bodies expand into a longer and more cylindrical shape.

How Can I Find Bed Bugs?

Because these pests are misidentified, the simplest way to find bed bugs is to call a bed bug professional.

Few signs can indicate the presence of bed bugs in your home:

  • Finding exoskeletons and shells of bed bugs
  • Bed bugs fecal stain in your bedding and mattresses
  • Bloodstains on your bed sheets
  • Itchy welts or zigzag patterns on your skin after their bites

Differentiate Bed Bug from Other Insects

Many bugs look like bed bugs. You can discriminate against them by their color and size. If you need to get rid of them, you must know the difference between bed bugs and other bugs.  Here is a list of some bugs which look like bed bugs.

Bat Bugs

Bat bugs are the most common pests found in homes before the re-emergence of bed bugs in the 1990s and 2000s. Bat bugs are more similar to bed bugs. Both bugs have a brown color, flat, and oval shape. They are also small in size, just like a bed bug. They typically live in a colony of bats. If you have bats on your wall, there is a high chance these insects live among them. Bat bugs also belong to the Cimicidae family of insects. They are most commonly found in roots and have the same look as bed bugs.

Swallow Bug

Swallow bugs are also a kind of parasite that lives primarily among cliff swallows. They are less commonly present among barn swallows. Just like bed bugs and bat bugs, they are also small in size. They are flat, round, and brown. If swallows have made their nests on your home, you will surely find swallow bugs in your home.

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are not from the family of bed bugs, but they are more similar to them. Carpet beetles have a segmented body, just like bed bugs. Bed bugs have six legs, while carpet beetles have eight legs. They have wings that differentiate them from the bed bugs.


These are small and flat insects that can easily discriminate by flat hind legs used to jump great distance. They have a small size compared to bed bugs but have a segmented oval-shaped body like carpet beetles.

Wrap Up

You may think that bugs are bugs and are gross, but you must differentiate between bed bugs and similar insects. Bed bugs do not cause to spread diseases; their bites are not so harmful. Their bites are not associated with other infestations, just like bats or birds. The bed bugs are living in a crowded area. However, flea bites are harmful and cause allergic reactions in some people. As a result, merely letting it go is not enough. It would help if you treated infestations properly.

4 thoughts on “Life Cycle of a Bed Bug?”

  1. I work out of town often, my wife and I, in September went to NYC 4 a couple of days, we recently bought 2 bedroom sets from a friend, don’t no 4 sure we’re they came from but we got bedbugs. I need help. We have wash all our clothes and bagged them keeping them in our garage, cold storage, bombed our house. New box spring an mattress also.3daus later my wife had 1 crawling on her and I killed 4 more,what didn’t I do

    1. Florencio Aricheta

      Hi Joseph
      Wait for a few days these may be wandering around the corners like wooden doors, ceiling, etc. or you may have missed any corner. Try some kind of effective spray. Otherwise, I recommend you to call professionals in that case. Your house may have been totally infested with bed bugs.

        1. Yes, but you cannot see with the naked eye. Like Larva and hidden undercover. Just small black spots even if you find somewhere in bulk.

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