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General Information

More information on bed bugs.

Bed BugsSpecies

Bed Bugs are a member of the Order of true bugs, Hemiptera and the Family Cimicade. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, and the bat bug, C. pilosellus are often found in homes in the United States.


Bed bug eggs are white, slightly pear-shaped and about as long as a pinhead. At one end there is a “lid” through which young will emerge. Eggs are found in crevices in clusters of 10-50. Newly hatched bed bugs are nearly colorless but otherwise resemble the adults, only smaller.

Adult bed bugs are straw-colored to reddish-brown, flat oval-bodied, wingless insects. Their upper bodies are crinkly, like paper and covered with short golden hairs. Before feeding, their bodies are ¼ to ⅜ of an inch long (about the size of a pencil eraser) and nearly as flat as a piece of paper. Their appearance changes dramatically after they feed. After a blood meal they become bloated and dark red and have been described as animated blood drops.

Bed bugs live together at all stages, so you may find adults, young adults and eggs in the same locations.

Life Cycle

The rate a bed bug develops is dependent on the temperature as well as host availability.

Number of Days it takes for bed bug to go from an egg to an adult

Days° F (˚C)
128 64.4° (18°)
24 86.0° (30°)
21 71.6° (22°)


Adult bugs mate after feeding. The females store sperm and are able to fertilize eggs for 5-7 weeks after mating. They can deposit up to 3 eggs a day but stop after 11 days unless they feed again. A female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime. Females do not lay eggs when the temperature is lower than 50° F (10 ˚C). Eggs usually hatch in 6 to 17 days but may take as long as 28 days at cooler temperatures. Eggs are deposited in batches from 10 to 50 in crevices of bed frames, floors, walls and similar household sites. When fresh, the eggs are coated with a sticky film that causes them to cling to objects. When the young hatch they look like the small adults and are called nymphs. Under ideal settings bugs feed often, every few days, when temperatures are above 70° F (21 ˚C). The nymphs begin to feed as soon as they can locate a host but can live months without feeding. They shed their outer shell 5 times before reaching maturity.

Feeding Habits

Bed bugs feed until they are engorged and then drop off the host. They do not stay on their host like lice or fleas. They crawl into a hiding place and remain there for several days digesting the meal. When hungry again, they emerge from the hiding place and search for a host. If no food is available, the new nymphs may live for several weeks in warm weather, or several months in cool weather. Older bugs may go for 2 months or longer without food.

More Information on Bites

When bed bugs bite, they inject a fluid into a person's skin that enables the insect to withdraw blood. They feed by piercing the skin with their elongated beak through which they suck the blood. A feeding can last between three to ten minutes, yet people seldom feel being bitten. Immediately after they finish feeding they crawl off to digest their meal which takes several days.

How can you determine if you have bed bug bites?

First, keep in mind that many insect bites look alike.  Bites can be caused by mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, or other insects.  Rashes caused by poison ivy or allergies may also be mistaken for insect bites.  The first thing to look for is small blood spots on the sheets, mattress, or other bedding.  This is suggestive of bed bugs, but collection and identification of the bugs is necessary for confirmation.  If you are staying at a hotel and suspect bed bugs, contact management as soon as possible so they can conduct a bed bug inspection of the room.  If you suspect bed bugs in your home, look for them in their possible hiding places, or contact a professional pest control company to have an inspection done.

Video-National Geographic

Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-insect Causes