The Lifecycle of a Bed Bug

When it comes to bed bugs, the more you know, the better off you are. Knowing everything you can about these bugs can help you if you ever end up with an infestation. Like all other bugs, bed bugs go through stages of life. Knowing what bed bugs look like throughout all of their stages, can help you know what to search for if you ever feel you have bed bugs.

Life Cycle of a Bed Bug


Bed bugs start off as an egg. The eggs are typically about 1mm in length and are creamy in colour. Eggs are usually laid in clusters together. It takes two weeks for the eggs to fully develop before the bed bugs are born. Female bed bugs can lay up to a whopping 500 eggs in a lifetime.
Bed Bug Eggs and a Zipper


After hatching bedbugs move onto the next stage, nymphs. There are five stages of a nymph, where the bed bug will moult and grow in size. In order to go through a stage, a bed bug requires blood to feed on. Nymphs are similar to adult bed bugs except they are smaller in size. They are also white/yellowish in colour. Another difference between an adult and the nymph, is that the nymph is not sexually mature.

Nymph Bed Bugs


Once a bed bug has fully matured, it is able to produce eggs. If it is regularly feeding, it will be reddish brown in colour. If it isn’t fed it will be flat and brown. They develop glands on their underside which produce a musty odour. Typically females have a more rounded shell while males have a pointed shell. Both the males and the females can be between 5-7mm in length.

They live on average about six months but if they are not getting the proper nutrients, they can become dormant. They can live up to twelve months without a meal, and nymphs can live up to three months without a meal.

Bed bugs can also enter diapause when temperatures drop drastically. Diapause slows down their metabolism and conserves their energy. However Bed Bugs will die in temperatures any colder than -40° Celsius.

Bed Bug Sizes
  • Eggs (1mm)
  • 1st stage nymph (1.5 mm)
  • 2nd stage nymph (2 mm)
  • 3rd stage nymph (2.5 mm)
  • 4th stage nymph (3 mm)
  • 5th stage nymph (4.5 mm)
  • Adult (5-7 mm)

Bed Bug Size Ranges

Knowing the lifecycle of a bed bug is critical information to know if you happen to have an infestation. Remember that not all bed bugs look the same. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. By knowing what to look for, you have a better chance of noticing the signs earlier and getting rid of those pesky creatures.