Bed bugs on wall

The Life Cycle of a Bed Bug

Bed bugs, a nocturnal, 4 millimeter sized insect that have the ability to hide in the most tiny locations that you can imagine. Drawn to their food host (which is us, sadly), you can find them in your bed mattress seams waiting quietly until you fall asleep. At this point, nymphs and adult bed bugs feed on your exposed skin, which may leave a flat, red welt. These welts can be irritating and scratchy, which can make having bed bugs extremely unpleasant.

Like any other insect, bed bugs start as eggs. Within a generous amount of time, they will become nymphs, then an adult bed bug. It is important to know the life stages of a bed bug because they do differ in size and look and they can be mistaken as another insect. They can also tell you vital information about the severity of your infestation.


Ranging in size from .5mm to 4mm, bed bugs start their life cycle as an egg. They are very grain like and milky white in color and are often described as the size of a dot created by a marker. Female adult bed bugs can lay up to 300 eggs in her lifetime, which can be up to 3 eggs per day. When these eggs are laid, they will be in small clusters covered in a glue like substance and are often in tick cracks, crevices, or in the seams of a bed mattress. In some extreme cases, they can even be found underneath furniture.


Once they have left the eggs, nymphs pass through five stages before reaching maturity. In order to reach the next life stage, a nymph must have a blood meal then shed their exoskeleton in order to grow. They will begin their life cycle at about 1.5 mm and reach 4.5 mm at the final stage. At room temperature, nymphs will molt their exoskeleton and become an adult within five weeks.The shells that a bed bug will molt are a significant sign that a home may have been infested with bed bugs. Often found in their hiding place, which will most likely be a mattress corner, these shells will be a clear yellowish color and are found in abundance.  

Nymphs are often mistaken as other insects and are not immediately noticed as a bed bug. They are smaller in size and appear to be a brighter red color while adults appear a more reddish brown.


After the five stages of reaching full maturity, a bed bug will be around five to seven millimeters long and be flat and brown in color. Once they feed, they will also appear as more of a brown-reddish color. When in large groups, bed bugs will also produce pheromones which will smell like a musty-sweet odor, which is compared to leaving a wet towel out for a few days.

If you are finding live bed bugs in your home, call Bed Bug BBQ. We are your #1 bed bug removal and extermination company in the Cleveland, OH area. Call us now for a FREE inspection: (216) 232-2762.


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