What Is the Bed Bug Life Cycle, and How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?

The bed bug life cycle is fascinating, and these little creatures can live for a surprisingly long time. We are here to help you learn about the bed bug life cycle and how long these critters can last.

Bed bugs undergo three main stages in their lifecycle: egg, nymph (5 stages), and adult. The egg stage is the shortest, lasting up to 14 days. Unhatched bed bug eggs will be stuck to surfaces around your bed or furniture. The bed bugs place the eggs near a blood meal, so their babies can feed right after they hatch.

Nymphs go through 5 stages, then mature into adults over 20 days to 5 weeks. Once they reach adulthood, bed bugs can live for another six to twelve months before finally dying.

Under optimal conditions, bed bugs can live for up to one year without feeding, but they typically only live for about six to eight months. 

What is the Bed Bug Life Cycle?

Egg – Nymph (5 stages) – Adult

what is the bed bug life cycle and what is the bed bug lifespan?

What Is the Life Cycle of a Bed Bug in Days?

Egg – Up to 14 days to hatch

Stage 1 Nymph – Up to 7 days – this can be shorter or longer depending on when the bug has its last blood meal.

Stage 2 Nymph – Up to 7 days will be shorter or longer depending on when the bug has its last blood meal.

Stage 3 Nymph – Up to 7 days – this will be shorter or longer depending on when the bug has its last blood meal.

Stage 4 Nymph – Up to 7 days – this can be shorter or longer depending on when the bug has its last blood meal.

Stage 5 Nymph – Up to 7 days – this can be shorter or longer depending on when the bug has its last blood meal.

Adult – Will live up to 365 days.

Pictures of the Bed Bug Life Cycle

what is the bed bug life cycle
Picture of the Bed Bug Life Cycle

What Is the Bed Bug Life Cycle?

stages of the bed bug lifecycle
Real life example of the bed bug life cycle

How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?

According to Dini Miller, an entomologist at Virginia Tech, a well-fed bed bug in a laboratory setting will live between 99 and 300 days. Additionally, Dr. Miller mentions that we don’t have any way of knowing how long bed bugs live in people’s homes, but we can assume that the bed bug lifespan is similarly between 99 and 300 days.

What is the Bed Bug Lifespan?

As mentioned above, the bed bug’s lifespan is between 99 and 300 days. However, it’s important to note that they can live longer than 300 days.

Remember that a bed bug getting regular blood meals may live longer than one year. Not only that, but if they aren’t getting regular blood meals, they can have a sort of hibernation state. At the same time, they are conserving their energy and waiting for a blood meal.

What is the Lifespan of a Bed Bug Without Blood?

In 2011 there was a study called “Survivorship During Starvation for Cimex lectularius L.” by Andrea M. Polanco, Dini M. Miller,* and Carlyle C. Brewster. Part of the conclusion held that most fifth-stage nymphs and adults survived up to 142 days or longer during starvation. 

Consequently, this is why we often have clients who find an extremely flat bed bug in an odd area of their home. A very flat bed bug means it’s been without food for quite some time. 

Since bed bugs are hitchhikers, you can pick one up, and it can wander around before it makes its way to a blood source, which is why the lifespan of a bed bug without food can be upwards of 5 months.

What are the Stages of Bed Bugs? (What Is the Bed Bug Life Cycle?)

The stages of bed bugs are simple first, the bugs hatch from eggs and look for a blood meal. Then, they go through 5 nymphal stages, AKA (instars); each nymph stage will feed on blood and produce shed skin.

Next, the 5th stage nymph will turn into an adult bed bug. It’s the adults we need to worry about because they can reproduce and create more bed bugs. If you pick up one male bed bug, you will not get an infestation. Furthermore, bed bugs are not asexual, and you need a male and a female for them to reproduce.

Remember that sometimes bed bugs can live for up to a year without feeding, so don’t think you can isolate your stuff, and that will solve the problem. And if you find yourself with a bed bug infestation, don’t despair – plenty of treatment options are available to get rid of them for good!

Bed Bug Life Cycle, stages from egg to adult

Examples of 1st Stage Bed Bugs

Check out these photos of 1st stage bed bugs feeding on someone’s hand.

1st instar baby bed bug feeding on a hand

At What Stage Do Bed Bugs Bite?

Bed bugs typically start biting people as soon as they hatch, so the first stage of their life cycle is when they begin to bite. Additionally, they usually feed every five to seven days and will take a blood meal from any warm-blooded animal they can find.

So if you’re staying in a hotel or someone’s home where bed bugs are present, it’s essential to watch these little pests and take precautions against being bitten.

What is the Bed Bugs Feeding Cycle?

A bed bugs feeding cycle is once every 4-7 days; they will take a blood meal. Each bed bug will feed on you for 5-10 minutes, which may be part of why they feed on us while we sleep. If you fear bed bugs learn all about the many places where bed bugs hide in this article.

How Long Does it Take a Bed Bug to Mature?

It takes a just born baby bed bug approximately 25-35 days to mature. It all depends on the temperature in the room and how often they get a blood meal.

Each bed bug nymph will feed about once per week and then advance to the next stage. Furthermore, each bed bug stage lasts 6-8 days in optimal conditions.

How Quickly Do Bed Bugs Reproduce?

Any adult bed bugs can reproduce rather quickly. Once you have a few adult bed bugs, the reproduction process is sped up.

After a single blood meal, a female bed bug can produce between 5 and 20 eggs. How many eggs does a bed bug lay? Well, a bed bug will lay up to 113 eggs in her lifespan.

How Many Babies Do Bed Bugs Have?

If a single female bed bug lays 100 eggs, she will have 100 babies. Each bed bug egg will have one nymph inside.

What Do Bed Bugs Need to Live?

The only thing bed bugs need to live is a blood meal. Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, feeds on the blood of humans; however, it can also feed on other mammals.

Luckily, bed bugs cannot fly, but they can move quickly over surfaces. You will find them in tight places, such as in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dressers, couches, chairs, picture frames, walls, and floors.

Furthermore, if you think you have bed bugs, finding them and getting rid of them as soon as possible is essential. A bed bug specialist can help prevent them from spreading to other areas of your home.

Final Thoughts “What Is the Bed Bug Life Cycle, and How Long Do Bed Bugs Live

So, what have we learned about the bed bug life cycle? First and foremost, these little creatures are fascinating. They can live for an impressively long time under the right conditions and thrive in environments where people are present.

It’s essential to be aware of the signs of a bed bug infestation, learn about bed bug look alikes, and take action if you think you might have them. Thanks for following along on our journey into the world of bed bugs!