Egg -- The white, oval egg is about 1 mm long.
Nymph -- The five nymphal instars resemble the adult though they are smaller in size. A newly hatched nymph is almost colorless.
Hosts -- Though man is the preferred host, bed bugs feed on many warmblooded animals. Animal hosts include poultry, rats, mice, dogs, cats, pigeons, canaries, rabbits, and guinea pigs.
Damage -- Bed bugs inject saliva as they feed. An allergic reaction to this substance often causes slightly delayed swelling, itching, and burning which may persist for a week or more. Bed bugs also emit an offensive odor.
Poultry houses are sometimes infested with bed bugs. Heavy infestations can be detected by the presence of black excrement on eggs. Bed bugs have never been proven to carry any diseases of man or animals, but they may have a role in transmission of hepatitis.
Life History -- Bed bugs feed and breed year round when conditions permit. These insects hide during the day in mattresses or cracks and crevices. Under favorable conditions, each female lays 200 to 500 eggs. When the insects feed regularly, eggs are laid in batches of 10 to 50 at 3- to 15-day intervals.
Maximum egg laying occurs when the temperature is above 21°C (70°F). No eggs are laid at temperatures lower than 10oC (50°F).
When first laid, the eggs are coated with a sticky substance which dries at once, causing the eggs to adhere to the object on which they were deposited. Eggs and the eggshells are found, singly or in clusters, near the crevices in which the bugs hide. At temperatures above 21°C (70°F), eggs hatch in 6 to 17 days. At lower temperatures, hatching may take as long as 28 days.
Newly hatched bugs feed at the first opportunity. They molt five times before reaching maturity and require at least one blood meal between each molt. Immature stages can survive approximately two months without feeding; however, most nymphs usually develop into adults within 2 to 6 weeks. Bed bug adults often survive up to 2 months without food, but under certain circumstances can live a year or more without feeding.
Inside buildings, three or four annual generations may be produced. Bed bugs do not tend to migrate from room to room, but may be carried from one place to another in luggage, laundry, etc. Piles of cast nymphal skins often accumulate in bed bug hiding places.