Bed bugs. These two small words can strike fear into the hearts of homeowners. Bed bugs are feared because they are difficult to eradicate. Catching an infestation early is essential if you want to minimize the amount of time and energy needed to completely eliminate all bed bugs from your home.
The key to identifying bed bugs properly is understanding each stage of these bugs' life cycle. If you can recognize eggs, nymphs, and adults, you can contact a pest control specialist for help as soon as possible.
Like many insects, bed bugs begin their lives as eggs. Mature bed bugs will only mate after they have enjoyed a meal of blood. If there is no viable food source nearby, the adults will not engage in the mating ritual.
Bed bug eggs are small and have a pearly white or milky appearance. You may mistake the eggs for grains of cooked rice.
Females prefer to lay their eggs in small cracks and crevices to protect the eggs against predators. This means that you are most likely to spot bed bug eggs in the creases of your mattress or box springs, along the baseboards in your home, or in the folds of your curtains.
It takes about 6 to 10 days for the eggs to hatch, and the average female can lay between 200 and 250 eggs during her lifetime. Identifying bed bugs while they are in the egg stage can help you prevent a major infestation from forming in your home.
Once a baby bed bug emerges from its egg it is referred to as a nymph. Bed bugs are one of the few insect species that don't undergo a metamorphosis, which means that the body shape of a nymph will be similar to that of an adult bed bug.
The primary difference between nymphs and adults is color. A baby bed bug is almost translucent in color. The tell-tale rust color that bed bugs are known for will begin to develop after a nymph has fed. The skin of the nymph will be shed several times as the bed bug matures, and it is usually these skins that are most visible to homeowners.
Nymphs need to feed more frequently than their adult counterparts. This means that you will experience a significant increase in the number of bites you suffer when a bed bug infestation has entered the nymph phase.
A pest control specialist should be called in as soon as you notice this increase in activity to help minimize the impact bed bugs will have on your future.
The final stage of the bed bug life cycle is adulthood. An adult bed bug has an elongated, round body that is brown or reddish-brown in appearance. Adults are usually about the size of an apple seed, making them the easiest to spot within your home.
The adult bed bug is very resilient. Researchers have discovered that an adult bed bug can live anywhere from 20 to 400 days without eating a meal. Variables like temperature, competition for resources, and moisture levels can have a direct impact on the overall lifespan of the bed bug.
A bite from an adult bed bug can happen without disturbing your sleep. This is because the adults inject a natural anesthetic while feeding. Bites become noticeable in the days following the feeding of a mature bed bug when the bite site gets itchy and red.
An adult can consume up to 6 times its body weight in a single feeding, with each feeding lasting between 3 and 10 minutes.
If you suspect that you have a bed bug problem in your home, contact No Bull Bed Bug Control for help eradicating bed bugs in all stages of the life cycle.