Bedbugs are making a comeback. People now travel more than ever before, and bedbugs are hitching rides on clothing and luggage. They can now be found everywhere from homeless shelters to five-star hotels to single family dwellings to public transportation. They are moved from room to room on infested objects. Anyone can get an infestation of bedbugs and this does not mean a lack of cleanliness.
Adult bedbugs are about the same size and shape as an apple seed. They have an oval, broad, flat body and a short, broad head. Bedbugs cannot easily climb metal or polished surfaces and cannot fly or jump. Unfed adults are around 6 to 10 mm long, brown and wingless. After feeding, they swell slightly in size and darken to a blood-red colour. The nymphs are shaped like the adults, but are yellow-white in colour.
The bedbug eggs are white, about 1 mm long (1/25 inch), and are almost impossible to see on most surfaces. The female bedbug lays at least 200 eggs in her lifetime, at a rate of about 2 to 4 per day. The eggs have a sticky coating and are placed in cracks and crevices, behind woodwork and any other hiding place they can find. They usually hatch in 6 to 17 days.
Newly hatched nymphs feed as soon as food is available. A bedbug goes through five moults (shedding its skin) before it reaches full maturity. Adults usually live for around 10 months, but can live for a year or more and can breed year round in a home where the environment is good for reproduction (like temperatures between 21° and 28°C). Bedbugs can live from several weeks up to roughly a year and a half without feeding.