The Lifecycle of a Bedbug
Posted on 18th October 2020 at 10:40
Where do we start, which came first? The answer is at the beginning with a single bedbug egg, this egg has just been laid in a crack behind the headboard of the bed. Its milky white in appearance and translucent so you will be able to make out the tiny embryo inside, the female bedbug has laid four other eggs at the same time and these are all hidden away.
Bedbugs in Reading - Total control of bedbugs from a local company
These eggs like many other insect types are covered in a sticky coating and cling onto surfaces, each egg is around 1mm in length these will stay attached for a long period of time, well after the new bedbug hatches and leaves the egg case. Bedbugs are insects that have what’s called incomplete metamorphosis: we associate many insects with a lifecycle of egg, grub, pupa and then the adult version, something like caterpillars which turn into butterflies.
Bedbugs just like insects such as cockroaches and spiders are born as miniature versions of their parents, and as they have a hard-outer skeleton rather than pupate to change body form they will moult and shed this outer skeleton through different stages.
Young bedbugs are called nymphs, and these will go through five separate moults slowly becoming larger and larger, the first size is approximately 1.5mm long. These are the newly hatched bedbugs and they will need to feed through each stage in order to complete the lifecycle, they will moult and increase in size each time by just over .5 of a millimetre until fully grown where they measure around 5.5mm.
What do bedbugs look like?
Because the young bedbug nymph is a smaller version of the adults, they feed in the same way and as soon as they hatch they will be in search of a blood meal, and in this case, that’s you. Bedbugs are extremely lazy insects who want to live within 30 feet of the host, so you’ll find bedbugs hiding inside the actual bed frame or behind the headboard.
When they are newly hatched, bedbugs will be a yellow or white / yellow colour, these insects will go through a range of colours in their lifespan, changing from white when unfed to bright red having consumed a blood meal to a dark brownish red when fully mature.
Bedbugs take about five weeks to become sexually mature and able to start breeding themselves, over the course of the usual bedbug lifespan, females will go onto lay around 500 eggs at a rate of 5 every day. Their lifespan is around four to six months although they can survive for a year without feeding if the temperatures are low enough for them to go into a form of hibernation called diapause..
How do I know if I have bedbugs?
Not everyone reacts to being bitten by a bedbug, the idea that after being bitten you’ll come up in itchy bites doesn't’t always happen so you need to be on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of a bedbug infestation.
The most obvious one is the blood spots on sheets; after feeding the bedbug needs to excrete the liquid content of the blood meal so that it can squeeze back into its hideaway, bedbugs will usually feed a couple of times and they can follow a pattern of biting every few days or even every ten days in the case of the adults.
We have already mentioned the growth and the shedding of the outer skeleton, with five moults for each bedbug, these discarded skeletons soon pile up on carpets and beneath chairs.
Look out for the discarded skins as reddish thin membrane which is coloured rather like that of a peanut skin.
Bedbugs give off an unpleasant smell and given their habit of grouping together, when in numbers, this concentrates the smell to make it strong enough for us to pick up. The scent of bedbugs is a musty smell like that off a damp dirty towel and you can get this easily when you have a breeding colony. There is also bacterial growth on the excreted blood which also intensifies the smell.
Because these insects congregate together in a crack or crevice it can be easy to miss a small infestation in its early stages. Look out for a series of small black dots which will overtime increase to a darker mass as the numbers of bedbugs increase.
If you notice any black spots and you suspect that there are bedbugs, wet a piece of white towel and rub it over any suspicious marks, if these are caused by bedbugs the blood will slake back to a red colour.
Reading Pest Control for bedbug eradication
All insect life has a unique thermal death point; this is the temperature that you need to reach to kill off all parts of the lifecycle and for bedbugs it is above 46 degrees Centigrade, so with that knowledge we always use some form of heat in our bedbugs treatments in Reading.
We have the choice of using a steam machine which pumps out a dry steam at 180 degrees Centigrade; this is ideal as we can reach down into the inner frame of the bed and run the steam nozzle over all surfaces killing adults, nymphs and eggs instantly.
We also have the ability to run portable heaters which plug into the mains electricity and bring the entire room temperature up to 60 degrees Centigrade.
With both treatments we can follow up with a chemical attack using the latest insecticides and growth regulators to kill those hard to get insects.
10 Facts about bedbugs
1. Compared to insects like fleas and wasps, bedbugs are slow moving.
2. They are lazy by nature and will be found very close to the host.
3. They live for a long time; around 6 months.
4. They like rough material to climb around on and are not very good with smooth surfaces
5. Bedbugs can withstand a wide range of temperatures from just about freezing to 44 degrees Centigrade.
6. They come in arrange of colours from white when unfed to bright red after a blood meal.
7. They will be found on walls and behind picture frames; the Victorians called them wall bugs.
8. Bedbugs are fast breeders; each female will lay around 500 eggs in her lifetime.
9. Bedbugs are quite benign as they don’t transmit disease or carry any harmful viruses.
10. Bedbug infestations are on the rise, increased travel and human population means that these bloodsucking insects are increasing.
If you have a problem with bedbugs in Reading call on us for the solution, we are experts in bedbug control and we offer a comprehensive bedbug control service.
07491 247 999
Tagged as: Bed bugs
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