Lifecycle Pictures of Bed Bugs: From Eggs to Adults

Picture Shows Image of a Bed Bug at Different Life Stages

Bedbug Life Cycle Pictures

This page features pictures and videos of bed bugs at each stage of the life cycle.  A bed bug starts life as an egg and then passes through 5 nymph stages (called Instars), culminating in adulthood.  They are referred to as nymphs until they reach 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. Each stage lasts from 4 to 24 days depending on the temperature and access to food.  If all things are perfect the lifecycle takes about 5 weeks.

diagram of bed bug lifecycle picturesBed bugs life cycle pictures in diagram.
Source: Department of Medical Entomology, ICPMR, Westmead Hospital

pictures of bed bug eggs

Bedbug eggs are laid in small clusters in groups of 2 or 3, and will average 3 to 5 eggs per day, but can lay up to 12.  A female will lay approximately 500 eggs in her lifetime. A female must mate to lay eggs. 

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:

Video: Bed Bug Eggs

Video of bed bugs hatching from eggs.

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 picking them up with a vacuum impossible.  One approach is to pick them up with the sticky side of tape.

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 that are labeled to kill bed bug eggs such as Bedlam.

bed bug white eggsPictures of White Bed Bug Eggs Glued to Surface

bed bug nymphs (baby bed bugs)

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?  (adults can live 12 to 14 months)

How Small Are Baby Bed Bugs?

Baby bed bugs are 1/16 in length.

picture of bed bugPicture of Baby Bed Bug. Nymphs (Baby bed bugs) are somewhat small, (1.6mm, 1/16 inch), almost white and hard to see. (Nymph)
pics of bedbugs nymphs and adultsPicture of Bed Bugs: Adults and Nymphs

Picture of Baby Bed Bug After Feeding

show image of bed bugBed Bug Picture: Nymph After Feeding

bed bug 2nd stage

2nd stage instars (bed bug nymphs) before and after feedingPicture of Bed Bugs - 2nd Stage Nymphs

adult bed bugs

As bed bugs become adults, they turn brown. After a blood meal, they become reddish/brown in color.

Adult bed bugs are flat (1/16th of an inch) and approximately 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in length (5mm to 9mm). They typically do not get larger than 1/4" in length.

  Their small and flat profile makes it easy for them to hide in small space and fit through cracks in the walls and floors.  Bed bugs are so small, that they have been found inside electronics, and between the glass and window frames.  This is why when treating bed bugs, every inch of a room, including looking behind bed frames and pictures, is a required part of treatment.

bed bug side viewPicture of Bed Bugs - Side View
Source: University of Florida
picture of adult bedbugOverhead View: Adult Bed Bug Picture

How Often Do Bed bugs Feed?

Adult bed bugs will feed every 3 to 7 days depending on room temperature. Females cannot produce eggs wihtout feeding.

Bed Bug Size

Bed bugs do not get much larger than 7mm (1/4").

picture of bedbugBed Bug Picture. Note size as compared to a coin.
Source: Federation of Metro Tenants Toronto
picture of bedbug size before and after feedingPictures of Bed Bugs Before and After Feeding

bed bug identification

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.

Another approach is to contact an exterminator through the Home Advisor network (or call 866-214-8380) who can confirm that you have an infestation. If you can capture an insect in a plastic pill jar or Ziploc bag.

Bedbug Video

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.

Video: Bed Bug Lifecycle

Video on bed bug behavior. How bed bugs find you, and how they feed.

Survival and temparature

Bed bugs are killed in extreme heat and cold:

  • Heat: Killed at  120° F, or long exposure to  113° F 
  • Cold: Can survive for a short time at  5° F, and can last for days at  32° F 

Bed bugs can live for about a year without a blood meal1.

Bed Bugs in College Dorms or When Traveling

Bed bugs in college dorms or picking them up when traveling is a common problem. Given the transient nature of these institutions, people are constantly picking up and dropping off bed bugs.  They can be transported home in the seams of luggage or a back pack as indicated below:

picture of bedbugs on back packBed Bugs in College Dorm - On Backpack
bed bugs on luggageBed Bugs Hiding in Luggage Seam

To protect luggage from bed bugs, be sure to keep it off the floor when entering a hotel room.  Hang clothes on the shower rack, not in the closet.  Keep all items off the bed, the number 1 hiding place for bed bugs.  Consider Bed Bug Proof Luggage which has a built in heating element to kill any bed bugs before you return home.

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(1) Michigan Bed Bug Manual

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