What's the best/worst environment for bed bugs?

Question: What is the absolute worst case scenario for bedbugs?

Answer: Bed bugs are small, flat, brownish or mahogany-colored insects. Some people say that an adult bed bug resembles an apple seed.

Bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood but will feed on blood of other animals if necessary. They are active at night. During the day, bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices near their feeding site. Since they usually feed on people who are sleeping, bed bugs are most common in areas where people sleep.

View pictures of bed bugs and a bed bug infestation.

Similar to cockroaches and crickets, bed bugs’ life cycle consists of a three-stage process. The stages are egg, nymphal and adult.

Bed bug nymphs, or immature bed bugs, shed their skins about five times as they develop. The nymphs must feed every time they shed their skin. Both males and females must feed on blood.

Depending on the temperature and the amount of food available, a bed bug can develop from an egg to an adult in as little as 21 days.

The “worst case,” for you would be the “best case” for bed bugs. For bed bugs the ideal environment would be a place where food is always available and the temperature is always between 65° and 85° F. The bedroom of most homes provides this ideal environment.

Under these conditions, a female bed bug can lay between one and five eggs every day. The average female bed bug can produce up to 400 eggs during her lifetime.

Since the eggs can develop into adult bed bugs in about three weeks, it is easy to see how a few bed bugs could multiply quickly and become a serious infestation.

So, for a worst case scenario, the residence would have multiple people who travel frequently and could bring bed bugs home. There is clutter that would allow bed bugs multiple places to hide. The temperature would be within the range of 65° and 85° F. The residents sleep in multiple places such as in beds, easy chairs, and sofas.

View our bed bug infographic titled From the Bed and Beyond, to get insight into bed bugs’ potential reproduction under ideal conditions.

Find out more about bed bugs in Orkin’s Pest Library.

If you have any questions as to whether or not you have been subjected to a “worse case scenario,” contact Orkin. A scientifically trained Orkin Pest Specialist will conduct a comprehensive inspection of your home or place of business. Upon completing the inspection and assessing the results, your Orkin Pest Specialist will be able to recommend a thorough treatment to control a bed bug infestation.

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