Bedbug Egg Stage
The first stage of a Bedbug’s life is the Egg Stage. Bedbug Eggs are incredibly tiny – less than a millimeter long. These eggs are primarily white, but they do display a hint of brown or cream tint. Bedbug Eggs actually look like a grain of rice when place under a magnifying glass. When seen without the aid of magnification, Bedbug Eggs actually look a lot like a dandruff speck.
Normally, Bedbug Eggs are not seen alone, because the mother lays multiple eggs at once in small heaps known as clutches. The mother adheres the eggs to one another using a cement-like substance that she secretes from her body. These egg clutches can grow to a rather large size. A single clutch can contain as many as fifty eggs, and the fertilized Bedbug adds somewhere between one and five eggs to the clutch every day.
Bedbug Eggs are generally found in firm locations made of fabric, wood, or plastic. Egg clutches are found in dark and concealed areas which appear to have a low risk of agitation. After a Bedbug Egg has been deposited, it will hatch sometime over the next two weeks if the temperature conditions are optimal.
Bedbug Nymph Stage
After the Bedbug emerges from its egg, it is referred to either as a Bedbug Instar or Bedbug Nymph. Bedbugs, like many other similar bugs, develop into sexual maturity through a process called Incomplete Metamorphosis. Unlike other insects like butterflies and moths, Bedbugs do not undergo Complete Metamorphosis. Bedbugs are born physically comparable to their adult forms.
Bedbug Nymphs and Adults do look quite similar, but there are a couple of important distinctions that must be made. When Bedbug Nymphs first hatch, they are nearly colorless, while their parents are reddish-brown. Bedbug Nymphs are also born significantly smaller than their adult forms.
Bedbugs grow and develop into sexually mature adults through a developmental process known as molting. Bedbug Nymphs evolve into sexually mature adults after molting five times. In order to molt, the Bedbug Nymph must feed on a human or other warm-blooded host. In a single feeding, the Instar will have all of the nutrients required in order to perform a molt and grow closer to adulthood. Every molt will cause the Bedbug to darken in color and grow slightly larger.
Adult Bedbug Stage
After that fifth molt, Bedbugs have officially reached adulthood. By this point, they are significantly larger than they were upon hatching, although still very small – only about a quarter-inch long. Adult Bedbugs are dark brown with a slight red hue. If the Bedbug has recently eaten, its stomach will gorge and become the color of fresh blood. Bedbugs are normally very flat, but upon feeding their stomachs nearly triple in size.
Adult Bedbugs remain dormant between meals while they go through digestion, and emerge in order to locate their next meal. Bedbugs are incredibly resilient creatures, and can survive for six months to a year without a meal. The length of time a Bedbug can go without a meal is directly correlated with the temperature and conditions around them. The colder the temperature, the longer that the Bedbugs can survive. A Bedbug with an ample food supply will live for around a year, but if hosts are not readily available or if the Bedbug lives in temperatures colder than room temperature, the Bedbug will live longer since its metabolism is not as fast.
Bedbug Fertilization Process
Bedbugs undergo a very dramatic form of sexual fertilization known as Traumatic Insemination. Evolutionary pressures have created a biological circumstance where Bedbugs are unable to perform normal sexual activity.
Rather than perform standard insemination, the male Bedbug actually has a sexual organ similar to a syringe which he uses to pierce the stomach of the female Bedbug and release his genetic material.
The female Bedbug has evolved enzymes and anti-bodies which minimize the risk of infection from the process. After fertilization, the female Bedbug will store the genetic material in her stomach, fertilizing eggs inside her body over time, allowing a single insemination to bear hundreds of eggs. Once the fertilized Bedbug releases her eggs, the cycle begins anew.