Sep 07 2009
The Common Bed Bug
||DESCRIPTION: Bed bugs are ectoparasites that grow to be 6mm long, are oval shaped and appear flattened when viewed from the side. Their colour ranges from translucent yellow (nymph) to dark red-brown (adult).
LIFE CYCLE: Bed bugs mate via traumatic insemination, whereby the male penetrates the abdomen wall of the female with his penis. Once fertilized a female will lay 5-6 eggs per day. (300-500 lifetime). She lays the eggs singly, attaching them to the surface with a cement like secretion. The eggs are clustered in groups of 20-50 called brood centres.
|The eggs hatch into a nymph in 10-14 days. The bed bug will pass through 5 nymphal stages (called instars) before reaching adulthood. From egg to adult takes 6-8 weeks on average. Click HERE for a more detailed look at the life cycle of the bed bug. On average adults live for 6 months to one year. The longest recorded lifespan was two years.
FEEDING: Both sexes and all stages of the bed bug feed on blood obtained from warm blooded animals. They acquire the blood by inserting their proboscis (mouthpart) into a vein or capillary where they secrete an anesthetic and anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting. Blood flows freely into the bed bug until the animal’s coagulants kick in. At this point the blood flow halts and the bed bug withdraws its proboscis, takes a few steps and the process is started all over. Bed bugs will typically visit 2-3 sites on their host before becoming fully engorged (about 10 minutes).