A bed bug must past through distinct stages of life. As the bed bug passes through the juvenile stage, it will need to shed its skin no fewer than six times prior to becoming an adult. When bed bugs have reached their adult state they become fertile and capable of reproducing. The life stages of a bed bug in detail consist of:
- Egg. These typically hatch in 10 days but may hatch out in as little as one week or as long as two weeks.
- Nymph. The juvenile of the species must eat a meal of blood before it can accomplish its first molt. It will molt five additional times before becoming an adult. The nymph stage may last less than a month in areas with warm weather; in cooler climes bed bugs may remain as nymphs for several months. This explains why bed bug infestations tend to be worse in tropical than in Nordic climates.
- Adult. The final stage of life. After about 10 months as an adult, the average bed bug will die.