Be snug as a bug in a rug.
Your bed is your place to relax after a long day. But bed bugs like to relax as well. One in five Americans has suffered from a bed bug infestation.
There is a lot of misinformation about bed bugs. Bed bugs don’t spread infections, and many bugs die off naturally. But they can cause a headache.
If you have the right knowledge, you can deal with bed bugs. The best thing you can understand is the life stages of bed bugs. Here is a quick guide.
Stage 1 is the egg stage. Bed bugs can lay eggs on any surface, but many bugs like to dig deep.
They lay eggs in crevices in the bed frame, or in creases in the mattress. They can also lay eggs inside furniture. They can slide into wood joints or slip beneath rugs.
A bed bug egg is less than one millimeter. They are white, making them difficult to see in low-light environments. Female bed bugs lay eggs near the hiding spots of adults, offering the eggs additional protection.
Eggs can hang on furniture or personal belongings. They can travel into another room, fall off, and roll into a spot. Female bugs secrete a glue-like substance, allowing eggs to stay in place in floorboards.
You can find and kill eggs. But you’re going to need persistence.
You will need to look at every spot in your house. You will need a magnifying glass. Consider getting additional help, breaking up your house so you can cover all spots.
Some eggs may have already hatched. Live eggs have no wrinkles, shrivels, or cracks.
If you notice an egg that has these features, the bug has hatched. If you see two red dots at one end, the egg is almost ready to hatch. Those dots are the bug’s eyes.
Stage 2 is the nymph stage. Bugs have hatched, but they are small. As soon as they leave their egg, they look for a host.
Nymphs need to drink a lot of blood. Nymphs grow in five separate substages, called “instars.” For them to move to the next instar, they have to feed on a host.
Nymphs wait for temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees. They then move to a human being, drink, and shed their skin.
Shedding the skin takes five days. Shedding may take longer if the temperatures or food is low. Once they’ve shed their skin, they look for the next opportunity to feed.
A newly-born nymph is straw-colored. As they drink more blood, they grow reddish-brown. Their bodies turn oval-shaped as they grow bigger.
Under the best conditions, the entire nymph stage takes 35 to 40 days. Otherwise, it may take a couple of months for nymphs to grow into adults.
You can spot nymphs in your home, especially at night. They will hide if they see a light source. Though they are one millimeter, they can conceal themselves in crevices and gaps in furniture.
Nymphs can survive without a meal for days. They can hide without moving, and they can avoid cold temperatures by crawling into surfaces.
You can find their skins and exoskeletons as well. Try to remove them whenever possible. Nymphs cannot lay eggs, but they can protect eggs with their bodies.
Once a nymph reaches its fifth instar, it takes another meal and then molts out of its skin. It is an adult as soon as it crawls out.
Adult bugs will continue to feed off of hosts. An adult seeks out a meal every few days, depending on the temperature of its home. In warmer temperatures, bugs feed more often.
Male bed bugs look for any females to mate with. Male bugs have a pointed sex organ that they penetrate into a female’s abdomen. This breaks their exoskeleton, and the female has to heal before venturing out again.
Female bed bugs can get pregnant every day. It takes three to six days for them to produce eggs. When they lay eggs, they can lay up to five at a time.
A new generation of bugs can total thousands of insects, filling furniture. An adult can live for up to a year and a half. Since it takes six weeks for each egg to hatch, one female can produce multiple generations of bugs.
Adults can survive months without feeding. They are four to seven millimeters long, but they can still hide in a variety of areas. Adults like to hide together, keeping each other safe.
Their large size means that adults are the easiest bed bugs to spot. Adults grow even bigger after they feed. They are dark in color, which makes it easy to see during the day.
It is hard to notice a bed bug while it is feeding. Though it takes them several minutes to feed, their bites do not produce enough pain to warrant attention. You will have to notice bugs when they come out, usually at night.
If you notice one adult bug, you likely have hundreds more. You should dispose of any bed bugs you see. But to end an infestation, you will need to go to an exterminator.
The Life Stages of Bed Bugs
Don’t get bugged. Bed bugs are a nuisance, but they’re a nuisance you can manage. Understand the life stages of bed bugs, and you can get rid of an infestation today.
Stage 1 is the egg stage. It takes up to ten days for a bed bug to hatch. Eggs are very small and difficult to find.
Stage 2 is the nymph stage. Bed bugs feed often so they can grow. Bugs are not easy to notice, but you can find their exoskeleton.
Stage 3 is the adult stage. Bed bugs mate and lay eggs often. They are easy to notice, but there can be thousands of bugs in your home.
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