Bed bugs are small, but not baby bugs. These bugs are only about half the size of adults and spend up to 50 days in the nymph stage before they are fully grown. The nymph stage of their life cycle is critical because it provides food for the adult bugs. The adults, or adult bedbugs, are 5.5 mm long. They feed on blood during all five phases of their life cycle.
Bedbugs are small flattened insects that feed on the blood of mammalian hosts. They used to be a worldwide problem but had disappeared during the 1940s and 1950s due to improvements in sanitation and pesticides. However, over the past decade, bedbugs have come back. A major outbreak at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney was the first sign of things to come. These bugs have been resurgent due to urbanization, global travel, and pesticide resistance.
A bed bug nymph is whitish or straw colored. Its color depends on the light it receives. A bed bug nymph has a specialized digestive system and a body cavity filled with blood. It is programmed to seek a blood meal. It will feed once a day, then molt. Each time it molts, it grows a dark spot on its body.
After the nymph stage, the female bedbug lays 200-250 eggs. These eggs hatch after six to 10 days. After hatching, the nymphs cannot reproduce until they are fully mature. This can take up to four months in cooler temperatures. However, after hatching, nymphs begin feeding on blood. The adult bedbug lives for six to twelve months.