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Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs London and Essex: Biology


The common bed bug also known as Cimex lectularius are an insect species that feed on many warm-blooded animals.

Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, flattened, oval and wingless. The adult bed bugs are 4 to 5.5mm long and 1.5 to 3 mm wide before feeding. They readily hide in cracks and crevices. Bed Bugs take 3-10 minutes to complete feeding. Engorged bed bug adults tend to be swollen and dull red in colour. The eggs are white, oval and about 1mm long. The bed bug egg has a sticky film covering which allows it to adhere to many surfaces. A newly hatched nymph is near colourless whereas the engorged nymphs are reddish and swollen.

Humans are the preferred host; they will feed on other warm-blooded animals. Bed Bugs usually hide in cracks or mattresses during the daytime, ad emerge at night to feed. They inject saliva as they feed which contains anticoagulants and anaesthetics, sometimes this causes an allergic reaction resulting in slightly delayed swelling, itching and burning. Adult Bed Bugs often survive up to 2 months without food, but in some circumstances can live in excess of 12 months without feeding. Where favourable conditions exist each female lays 200 to 500 eggs (up to 5 a day continuously), hatching in around 10 days.

Bed Bug: Cimex Lectularius
Bed Bugs Life Cycle
Bed Bugs Life Cycle

1. Egg (1mm Long)

2. 1st Stage Larva (1.5mm long)
Takes a blood meal then molts

3. 2nd Stage Larva (2mm long)
Takes a blood meal then molts

4. 3rd Stage Larva (2.5mm long)
Takes a blood meal then molts

5. 4th Stage Larva (3mm long)
Takes a blood meal then molts

6. 5th Stage Larva (4.5mm long)
Takes a blood meal then molts

7. Adult (5.5mm long)
Take repeated blood meals over several weeks.