Erin Doman on May 30, 2016 11 Comments If you have discovered bed bugs in your mattress and bedding, then you are probably interested in learning how to get rid of them as quickly, cheaply and painlessly as possible. However, it is important to learn about the life cycle of bed bugs in order to fully understand what you are up against. If you notice several generations of bed bugs around your home, then it could be a sign that the infestation has been around for a while. This information would be helpful to an exterminator because this indicates the severity of the infestation. The Life Cycle In order to identify if there are several generations of bed bugs in your home, you need to be aware of what each stage looks like. There are essentially seven stages to a bed bug’s life cycle. Egg: Bed bugs start their lives in eggs, which have a milky white color to them. These eggs are about one millimeter in length, so they can be a little hard to see because they are comparable in size to a couple grains of salt. 1st Stage Nymph: There are five stages of growth that nymphs go through. 1st stage nymphs are 1.5 millimeters in length. As soon as they come out of their eggs, they can start feeding immediately. Throughout these nymph stages the bed bugs are not mature, so they will not begin to breed until they are fully adults. 2nd Stage Nymph: Once a bed bug has gone through its first molt, it will become a 2nd stage nymph, which is about 2 millimeters long. 3rd Stage Nymph: After molting again, bed bugs become 3rd stage nymphs. At this point, they are around 2.5 millimeters long. 4th Stage Nymph: At this stage, bed bugs get to be 3 millimeters long. 5th Stage Nymph: This is the final nymph stage, and once it is reached, bed bugs can get up to 4.5 millimeters long. Adult: It takes about five weeks for a nymph to become an adult. At this point, they are able to breed. The lifespan of a bed bug is generally about four to six months. However, it is not unheard of for the pests to live up to a year. How Fast Are Bed Bugs Able to Breed? Thinking about a bed bug population booming is not necessarily the most fun thing in the world to think about. However, it is an important aspect to keep in mind because it is always better to curb the population before it gets out of hand. It may only take a few months before you have a full-on infestation on your hands. Most people generally bring bed bugs into their home after staying at a hotel or another place that already had them. One or more pests may attach themselves to your clothes or luggage and get a ride back to your house without you even knowing it. You may also start out with only a couple bugs. However, females are able to lay somewhere between one and five eggs a day. It takes about two weeks for the eggs to hatch, and as soon as they come out, the 1st stage nymphs will immediately begin to bite a host and feed on blood. It takes five weeks for a 1st stage nymph to mature into an adult that is capable of breeding, so within two or three months, you could have a massive population on your hands. If no steps are taken to contain the infestation, then you could have tens of thousands of bed bugs around your home within 6 months. This is why early detection is so vital. If you notice red bumps on your skin when you wake up, you should inspect your mattress thoroughly. Bed bugs are small but can still be noticed. They are generally reddish brown and have a flat appearance to them. Never wait to address the issue; acting swiftly is key to containing a bed bug population before it becomes a problem. How Often Do Bed Bugs Feed? Adult bed bugs generally only need to feed once a week. Therefore, you may not necessarily wake up every morning with red bumps, but it really depends on the size of the population you are looking at. However, it is possible for the pests to go longer periods of time without eating. Although a myth persists that bed bugs can go up to a whole year with eating, this is very rare and generally does not happen. Depending on the climate, the bugs may be able to go a month or two without eating. That means that even if you leave your house for a week or more for vacation, the bed bugs will still be waiting for you when you get back. When a bed bug bites your skin for a meal, it usually takes about five to 10 minutes for it to get a full dinner. Due to the fact that bed bugs are very small, you may not even feel the bite when it is happening. You may only realize something is amiss because you are waking up with red bumps on your skin. These bumps can be itchy, but for the most part, they do not pose any serious health threats unless you are allergic to bed bugs. The bites are a mild annoyance for most people, so they are easy to ignore. However, as soon as you notice the bumps, you need to perform a thorough inspection of your bed and furniture so that you can identify any bed bugs and address the issue. It may be a hassle to get rid of them, but you will save time and money by dealing with this issue when it is still small. Act Fast to Rid Your Home of Bed Bugs It can be a major headache to discover you have bed bugs in your home, but it is best to act quickly and contact the professionals to come out to your home to fumigate. Before you know it, you will be rid of the pests and can finally get a good night’s sleep once again.