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Guide to Baby Bed Bugs

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Baby bed bugs or nymphs are insects that are passing through the first 5 stages of development (stage 6 is adulthood).  They are about the size of the head of a pin and are light brown/straw colored.  After they feed the body turns red as shown below.

Babies to Nymph: Under 1/10", about the size of an apple seed

Mature: 1/8" - 1/4" Long

Bed bugs can have two over shapes. Unfed are flat and swollen after feeding. They have an exoskeleton on the outside of their body. 

Picture baby bed bug (instar) before and after blood mealBed Bug Nymph Picture. Nymphs or immature pests are almost completely transparent when unfed. They are light red after feeding.
Photo Credit: U of Minnesota

life cycle

bed bug lifecycle - diagramBed Bug Life Cycle Metamorphosis Chart

A bed bug will seek to feed on a human (or bat, bird as an alternative) as soon as they are born.  The process they follow is to feed in order to pass from stage to stage.  If a feeding opportunity is available they can feed more than one time between stages.  A nymph or baby bed bug can live from 3 to 4 months without feeding.

picture bed bug adult, nymph and eggBed Bug Adult, Nymph and Egg

As bed bugs develop they molt (shed their skin) between stages.  You can often find remnants of the bed bug on the mattress, a sure sign that there is or was some type of bed bug problem.

It takes four to five weeks for a bed bug to move from egg to adult (1 week per stage), depending on the temperature.   The ideal temperature for development is 50 degrees F (10C).

Bed Bug baby after blood mealBaby Bed Bug = Nymph After Blood Meal

Baby Bed Bug Video

Video showing bed bug infestation at all life stages. See actual size bed bugs in action.


Bed bugs at various life stagesPicture of Bed Bug Across Several Life Stages

A bed bug (babies, bed bug nymphs, adults) has a hollow tube or stylet which moves out from the head and into the host skin surface.  The stylet impales the skin and then searches for a location where blood can be withdrawn.   In effect bed bugs do not bite, they puncture.  It takes up to 10 minutes for a bed bug to finish a blood meal.  

When done, they move back to a tight narrow hiding place, which is often as close to the host as possible.  This is why bedbugs are found in mattress seams.

bed bug eggs

bed bug hatching photo - examplePicture Bed Bug Hatching

Bed bug eggs are approximately 1mm in width.  They are white-yellow in color and tend to be laid in small groupings.  They are attached to each surface with a cement like substance.

A  female will lay about 500 eggs during her lifetime.  It  takes 2 weeks for a bedbug egg to hatch.  They will lay about 1 to 2 eggs per day.

bed bugs eggs - examplePicture of Bed Bug Eggs on Surface

adult bed bugs

An adult bed bug will seek to feed every 3 to 5 days.  They live for approximately 6 to 12 months.

Magnified picture of bed bug - top viewBed Bug Picture - Adult. Note that bed bugs have six legs. The abdomen has 11 segments which expand after feeding. Shape differences indicates male or female. Females have a rounded tip.
Bed bug before and after meal - side by side comparisonBed Bugs After (left) and Before (right) Feeding

Video of Bed Bug Adults

National Geographic Bedbug Video

bed bug signs

Bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye. In addition to confirming the presence of bed bugs visually, other signs are mattress stains.

bed bug mattress stainsBed Bug Mattress Stains

bed bug bites

Bed Bug Biting Skin Video

Bed Bug Bite Pictures

Visible skin reaction to bed bug bites such as bumps or red irritated skin is an allergic reaction. Since it is allergic, people that do not have an allergy to bed bugs do not show visible signs beyond a small nearly invisible puncture where the bite occurred.  This is why if two people sleep in the same bed, one can have a reaction while the other person does not.

Orkin Inc. recently completed a study which showed that only 3.7% of people will show a visible reaction to a bed bug bite (approximately 4 out of 100 people). Another .8% had a bed bug bite reaction within 18 days.  At these low levels, it is possible for a home to be suffering from bed bugs without actually seeing any skin reaction.  

A recent study by the University of Kentucky School of Agriculture study also shows that the odds of getting a bed bug bite skin reaction is even lower in elderly populations.

Here are some pictures of bed bug bites:

Bed bug bites on armPicture: Bed Bug Bites


Bed bugs are difficult to treat. If you live in a single family home, and if you believe the infestation is small, then you can try home treatment by following these instructions starting with purchase of a kit.

Since even professionals require 2 to 3 treatments, we suggest starting with a free quote from a reputable national network with Bed Bug extermination experience such as Home Advisor (877.233.1145) or search our database of local exterminators.


Each of these free brochures have information on baby bed bugs, treatment and prevention.

From Baby Bed Bugs to Adults. The bed bug life cycle.
Available in a free Ebook

Guide to the lifec ycle of bed bugs, from hatching to adult.
Available in a free Ebook

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University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

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