Bed Bug Biology
Common Name: Bed bug
Scientific Family: Climex lectularius
Bed Bug Color
Unfed adults bed bugs are mahogany to rusty brown color.
Engorged bed bugs are red-brown color after a blood meal. Nymphs
(baby bed bugs) are nearly colorless when they first hatch and
become brownish as they mature.
Count of Legs
Bed Bug Shape
Unfed bed bugs are flat and broad-oval. Fed bed bugs become
swollen and more elongated.
Bed Bug Size
Adult bed bugs can reach a size of about 1/4 inch long. Nymphs
range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.
Adult and nymph bed
Bed Bug Life Cycle
Bed bug biology naturally promotes
infestation. Female bed bugs lay one to five eggs per day, or an
average of 540 eggs in a lifetime. They typically lay their eggs in
cracks or rough surfaces. Bed bug nymphs grow to full adulthood in
about 21 days and go through five stages of development before they
reach maturity. A bed bug will molt once during each stage of
development, though a blood meal is required for a molt. An adult
bed bug can live for several months without a blood meal.
Male and female bed bugs and
bed bug eggs
Bed Bug Feeding
Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide emitted by their
hosts. For this reason, they tend to feed at night on bare skin
that is exposed while sleeping. However, they are opportunistic
insects and will consume a blood meal during the day, especially in
heavily-infested areas. Although bed bugs prefer to feed on humans,
they will feed on other warm-blooded hosts as well.
Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood.
They feed by inserting two hollow, beak-like feeding tubes into
their host. The first tube injects the bug's saliva, which contains
anesthetics to numb the feeding area. The second tube draws blood.
After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days.
During this time, they do not feed but instead digest their meal,
mate and lay eggs.
Bed bugs feeding