What to Do with Bed Bugs? Part II
How do bed bugs develop?
The development of bed bugs takes place over a cycle with five larval stages from egg to adult, with the insects gradually assuming their final shape:
How fast the bedbugs’ development cycle takes place depends to a large extent on the living conditions of the animals. Assuming an average bedroom temperature of around 20 ° C, the development will take around 2.5 months. If it is warmer in the bedroom – for example 25 ° C – and the animals can draw blood without any problems, the development time can be reduced to a minimum of four weeks. On the other hand, if the living conditions of the bed bugs are less favorable (room temperature below 18 ° C and limited access to “food sources”), the development process can take up to seven months.
In this context, it is good to know that bed bug development stagnates completely at temperatures below 14 ° C. If the room temperature is even below 9 ° C, the bed bug also stops eating.
As mentioned earlier, the bed bug larvae need to ingest blood at least once in order for them to move on to the next stage of development.
Details on egg laying and further development of bed bugs
A single adult female bed bug can care for up to 500 offspring during their life of around six to twelve months. This happens gradually as the bed bugs lay new eggs almost every day. The female bed bug proceeds very carefully and hides the eggs – mostly near shelter – in hard-to-reach, dark places (e.g. in cracks, crevices, joints or furniture). Eggs are never laid on people or in their clothing.
The bed bug eggs are about 2 mm to about 10 mm in size and are milky-white in color. When the female lays the eggs, they already contain embryos.
Depending on the external circumstances, the bed bug larvae hatch from the eggs after about five to twenty days. At this point in time, they are not yet a millimeter in size and are transparent in color. In terms of shape, however, the larvae are already very similar to adult bed bugs.
If the bed bug larvae have sucked blood, this can be seen very well because their transparent body turns dark red from the blood meal.
How quickly the further development takes place depends on the temperature, the availability of food and the humidity. Under ideal conditions (30 ° C, sufficient food), the larvae transform into adult bedbugs within just 20 days, while under very unfavorable conditions it can take a year or more for the full development cycle.
What do bed bugs smell like?
Bed bugs have a very typical, unpleasantly sweet or rather foul-smelling odor, which was widespread in the bedrooms in earlier times and is still a relatively reliable indicator today that a bed bug infestation is present in the room.
The characteristic smell of bed bugs is based on a secretion that the animals secrete from a specially designed stink gland. The stinking bug secretion is released primarily when the bed bugs feel threatened or when the parasites are stepped on. When a bed bug releases its “scent”, this causes all animals to be alerted and scattered in the process.
How do bed bugs get into the apartment?
In contrast to many other pests which, for example, actively invade our living space through open windows, bed bugs are usually passively introduced into apartments. Most of the bed bugs that appear in the bedroom at home are free “souvenirs” from vacation that were brought along unnoticed with luggage. One should be especially careful about this when taking a trip to a tropical or subtropical country. Great care should be taken when packing and unpacking the suitcase and watch out for any suspicious signs of stowaways.
The passive introduction of bed bugs also occurs less often through the purchase or installation of old furniture or used furniture in the bedroom.
In Germany, bed bugs have become extremely rare in our modern times with advanced cleaning methods, new buildings without cracks and powerful vacuum cleaners. However, if they are introduced passively – as described above – they will find optimal living conditions in most of our bedrooms.
Where do bed bugs live?
If bed bugs have lodged in the bedroom, they mostly spend their days hidden and dark. They live accordingly behind loose wallpaper, wood paneling or pictures, in cracks (also from the bed frame) or crevices as well as under mattresses. So if you want to look for bed bugs, you should check all areas in your bedroom where it is dark during the day and where the bed bugs can find shelter. It is, however, the case that as soon as the animals are startled during the day, they immediately start the wandering and, if possible, quickly move to a more inaccessible place.
When do bed bugs appear?
As nocturnal pests, the bed bugs mobilize exactly when we are resting. They crawl out of their hiding spots at night and purposefully find their destination due to our body heat and the CO2 and sweat we emit. The sting is usually done in the early morning hours.