Bed bugs actually multiply slower than most insects. An adult female bed bug produces only one egg a day. That is very low when compared to a housefly that lays 500 eggs in four days.
A bed bug egg takes 10 days to hatch, and the baby bed bug, or nymph, takes another five to six weeks to become an adult bed bug.
In a matter of months, if you are not careful, you can have a full blown bed bug infestation.
If you want to learn more about how quickly bed bugs can reproduce, then keep on reading.
Bed bug life cycle
In order for you to identify that there are several generations of bed bugs in your home, you have to know what they look like in each life cycle stage.
Bed bug egg
Bed bugs start their lives in milky white eggs. The eggs are about 1mm long, which makes them quite difficult to see with the naked eye. They are roughly around the size of a few grains of salt.
After the eggs hatch, they are called nymphs. There are five stages of nymph growth. Throughout the nymph stages, the bed bugs are not mature and do not start to breed until they are adults.
First stage nymphs are 1.5mm long. They start feeding as soon as they come out of their shells.
Second stage nymphs have gone through its first molt and become around 2mm long.
After its second molt, they become third stage nymphs and are about 2.5mm long.
Fourth stage nymphs are 3mm long.
Fifth stage nymphs, the final stage nymph, are around 4.5mm long.
Adult bed bug
It takes about five weeks for a nymph to become an adult. At this point, the bed bug is able to breed. The average lifespan of a bed bug is four to six months, but it is not impossible for them to live for over a year.
Where do bed bugs live?
Bed bugs hide in a myriad of spots throughout your home. While they can often be found on mattresses, box springs, and bed frames, they can also live in many inaccessible places, like inside furniture, picture frames, behind baseboards, and even inside your electronics.
Unfortunately, bed bugs can go for months without feeding, which makes them difficult to control and find.
When bed bugs are outside, they infest the nests of birds, bats, and other animals.
They can enter a home by hitching a ride on clothing, fabric, and luggage.
How fast do bed bugs reproduce?
It is an important aspect to keep in mind that it is always better to curb the bed bug population before it gets out of hand. It may take only a few months before you have a full blown bed bug infestation.
Most people bring bed bugs into their home after staying in a hotel or any other place that already had them. One or more bed bugs can hitch a ride on your clothes or your luggage and get brought back to your house without you suspecting a thing.
You may start with only a few bugs, but when a female lays between one to five eggs a day, it will take only two weeks for those eggs to hatch. The nymphs will immediately begin to bite and feed on blood.
At 90 days, with that rate of hatching, you will have 1,200 to 1,600 bed bugs in your home. With each female bug laying between 200 to 500 eggs in its lifetime.
How fast do bed bugs spread from room to room?
Every day, bed bugs can lay between 1 and 12 eggs, and anywhere between 200 and 500 eggs in a lifetime. Those numbers should speak for themselves if you are wondering how long it takes to get an infestation of bed bugs.
Bed bugs take blood meals from warm-blooded hosts to survive and they will hide near their sources until they are ready to feed.
How fast bed bugs spread from room to room depends on how long it takes to move an infested piece of furniture, clothing, or luggage from one room to another.
Bugs can also move throughout the house in search of other hosts. If the conditions are favorable, they will continue breeding on wherever the item is moved.
How do bugs spread from house to house?
The rate at which bed bugs spread from house to house increases the more time you spend traveling. They are great hitchhikers so hotels, airplanes, cruise ships and public transportation are ideal places to pick up these uninvited guests.
Bed bugs can move from one place to another by traveling on luggage, clothing, bedding, boxes, and furniture. They are prevalent anywhere that has a high rate of overnight guests, including universities and hospitals.
Bed bugs do not fly, but they can crawl at high speeds with their six legs. They can travel three to four feet per minute on most surfaces, which is the equivalent of the average adult human sprinting. This makes the bed bugs travel between floors and rooms, and quickly hide before being seen.
After feeding, bed bugs head back to their harborage to digest and mate. If the conditions are right, an egg can mature into an adult in as little as a month and a half, and each bed bug could live anywhere from four months to over a year. Bed bugs are focused on feeding and breeding and will invade and multiply at lightning speed as a result.
Once bed bugs find a new home, they reproduce quickly. Female bugs lay between 1 to 5 eggs a day. In her entire lifetime, she will lay about 200 to 500 eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the nymphs will require a blood meal to molt for each of the five nymphal stages. After the last nymphal stage, they become adults.
Within a year there could be three generations of bed bugs in your home.
Even though bed bugs do not multiply quite as fast as flies, their eggs are usually 100% viable, which help them reproduce quickly.
In a matter of months, if you do not take any measures, you can have a full blown bed bug infestation.
Image: istockphoto.com / ADONIS FRANCE