BedBug Life Cycle Guide

" The Bedbug life cycle can be as short as 21 days under ideal conditions, but in most environments, this process will take from 5 to 8 weeks.. This assumes the availability of a warm blooded host such as a human or pet, and temperatures at 86F (30C). From egg to adulthood a bed bug will pass through 5 instars or stages with the last or sixth stage being adulthood. They requires a blood meal to move from stage to stage. A bed bug will live up to 316 days under the conditions described. If no host is available an adult can live just over a year without feeding. "  

The Bedbug life cycle starts with an egg. After birth the bed bug will move through 5 instars or stages, ending with adulthood.  While they are moving through the 5 stages they are referred to as a nymph.

In order to move from stage to stage during the lifecycle of a bed bug,  a bed bug needs to feed on a mammal. They prefer human blood, but will feed on other available animals such as a pet or bat. They can feed several times during each stage and as much as 1x per day. As the bed bug moves from each stage or instar they will molt as they grow.

A bed bug will impale its human host at night to withdraw blood, although if a bedbug has gone without feeding, they might try and feed during the day.  A nymph will look for a blood meal right after hatching from an egg.

Room temperate plays a role in how fast bedbugs move through the life cycle.  If the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees F, the bed bug takes approximately 4 to 5 weeks at 83-90 degrees F to move from egg, through the juvenile or nymph stages, and to adulthood.  Three generations of bed bugs could be born in a year. The lifespan of an adult is 10 to  11 months, although they could live for a year without feeding.

bedbug life cycle

Lifecycle of Bed Bugs

Bedbug Life Cycle - Time to Complete 1 Generation

As mentioned, the rate that bed bugs move through their lifecycle is based on the temperature of the room they area living in. Higher temperatures (80 degrees F) slow down bed bug growth.  Bed bugs and their eggs are killed at 114 degrees F.

lifecycle of bed bugs
Speed of Lifecycle of the Bed Bug

Bedbug Eggs

A female bed bug will lay 1 to 3 eggs per day and 200 in a lifetime.  The bedbug eggs stick to areas where they are placed and are therefore difficult to remove with a vacuum.  The eggs are approximately 1/16 inch and are oval.  They are white/yellow in color.

Bedbug Eggs take approximately six to ten days to hatch.  

Here's a great video showing abed bug hatching from a bed bug egg:

Bedbug Video - Bed Bug Hatching from Egg

picture of bed bug eggs
Picture of Bed Bug Eggs

The bedbug eggs are the size of a pin head, are white/yellow in color and oval as shown below.

picture bed bug eggs
Picture Bed Bug Eggs on Surface

Bed Bug Nymph

As mentioned, after birth, a "baby bed bug" is referred to as a nymph.  These nymphs move through 5 stages and molt as they move from stage to stage.

Here's video of a colony of bed bug nymphs and adults:

Bed Bug Nymph Video and Adults in Colony

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John F. Anderson PHD
Distinguished Scientist
CT Agricultural Experiment Station

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