Picture of bed bugs at each stage of the bedbug life cycle is depicted below. A bed bug starts life as an egg and then passes through 5 nymph stages (instars). They are referred to as nymphs until they reach adulthood. The entire bed bug life cycle and each stage is depicted below.
Nymphs (Baby bed bugs) are somewhat small, (1.6mm, 1/16 inch), almost white and hard to see.
Picture of Baby Bed Bug (Nymph)
As bed bugs become adults, they turn brown. After a blood meal, they become reddish/brown in color.
Adults Bed Bug Picture
Adult bed bugs are approximately 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch (5mm to 9mm) in length.
Bed Bug Picture
Source: Federation of Metro Tenants Toronto
If you need help to identify bed bugs in your home in order to confirm that you have a bed bug problem, you can mail a sample with a small fee to the Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.
National Geographic put together a helpful video on bed bugs and their behavior. This is a good first step in learning how to identify bed bugs:
Bedbug eggs are laid in small clusters in groups of 2 or 3. A female will lay approximately 200 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are yellow-white, 1mm in length (about the size of a sesame seed) and are oval shaped. It takes about 10 days before an egg will hatch.
Here's video of bed bug eggs and a bedbug hatching from an egg:
Here's a picture of bed bug eggs on a surface. Eggs are attached with a substance that firmly adheres them to the surface. This makes cleaning with a vacuum impossible. Killing bed bugs in a room requires killing the eggs as well. They can be killed with heat, such as from a hand steamer, and sprays such as Bedlam.
Bed bug nymphs or baby bed bugs move through 5 stages after being hatched. They need to feed on a host and molt to move from stage to stage. Many people ask how long do bed bug nymphs live without food? The answer is three to four months.
Pictures of Bed Bugs Before and After Feeding
As mentioned above, the bed bug life cycle involves 5 nymph stages culminating in adulthood. A bed bug needs to feed at least once to move from stage to stage. Under ideal conditions/temperature, a bed bug will live for approximately 10 months.
Bed bug life cycle diagram
Source: Department of Medical Entomology, ICPMR, Westmead Hospital
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