Bed bugs grow by simple metamorphosis, they have to molt into each consecutive life stage (total five nymphal stages) by shedding their exoskeleton. Under favourable conditions, female bed bug can lay 5 to 7 eggs a week.
If female bed bug is able to feed and mate regularly, she may lay from 200 to 500 viable eggs throughout her 6 – 18 months life. Eggs are covered with a glue and hatch in about 6 – 10 days.
The entire life cycle from egg to adult requires anywhere from 5 weeks to 4 months, depending on temperature. When temperatures are in the range of 21 °C to 27 °C, development occurs most rapidly.
Bed bugs can go without feeding for 80 to 140 days; older stages can survive longer without feeding than younger ones. Adults live about 6-18 months.
Nymphs and adults generally feed at night and hide in crevices during the day. Infestations of bed bugs can be detected by looking for their fecal spots, egg cases, and exuviae (shed skins) under wallpaper, behind picture frames, and inside cracks and crevices near beds.
Carefully inspect the bed frame, undersides of windows, door casings, and loose moldings. Bed bug harborage areas or sheltered sites are typically close the host.
Bed bugs are not usually considered to be disease carriers but their bites can cause infections and allergic reactions in some people. They do suck blood from their host with piercing mouthparts that contain two stylets: one stylet has a groove that carries saliva into the wound, while the other has a groove through which body fluids from the host are imbibed.
Saliva (an anticoagulant to get blood flowing) that is injected during the feeding can produce large swellings on the skin that itch and may become irritated and infected when scratched. In addition, bed bugs have stink glands that leave odors; they also leave fecal spots on bed sheets and around their hiding places.
People have been bitten or infested by bed bugs before may believe they are being bitten even after the elimination of bed bug in their home. This may be the signs of delusional parasitosis.
Bed bugs had been all but eradicated decades ago, because of the increase in domestic & international travels, pesticide bans (DDT) and pesticide resistance to current formulations, the bed bugs get back in our mattress again.
Currently, the most widely available materials labeled for bed bug control mainly include natural pyrethrins & synthetic pyrethroids (Pyrethrum) etc. Many people have raised some concern regarding the possible repellent effects of these pesticides on bed buds.
It is however, no research has been conducted to support or refute this concern. The assumption that these pesticides may be repellent to bed bugs stems largely from the well-documented repellent action of these pesticides with cockroaches.