What is a Bed Bug?

Cimex lectularius, better known as the bed bug, is a parasitic insect belonging to the cimicid family who solely feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. There are approximately 90 species of Cimicid parasites who have evolved over millions of years to inhabit the nests of their feeding hosts such as birds nests.

What does a bed bug look likeThe name bed bug is technically associated with one particular breed of cimicid parasite because they prefer to feed on human blood at night resulting in their choice of habitat being our beds, sofas and other soft furniture. They are a very difficult parasite to get rid of especially without professional help. For a guaranteed bed bug exterminator in Toronto contact Bed Bug Exterminator Pro Today for a free quote.

Physical Attributes of a bed bug

Bed bugs, once fully mature, can reach lengths up to 5mm and a width of 3mm. They have flat oval shaped bodies with 6 legs and a very small head. Naturally they have a brown color to them, however, once they have finished feeding their bodies turn into a dark blood-red color.

Like most members of the cimicid family, bed bugs do not have wings and thus cannot fly. They also cannot jump nor do they have the ability to climb smooth surfaces such as metals.

Where do bed bugs live?

Where do bed bugs liveThe ideal location for any parasitic insect to call home is typically a place where they have easy access to food and can easily hide. For this reason, bed bugs choose to live in sleeping areas near their hosts.

Since bed bugs have such small and flat bodies they can easily inhabit places in a bedroom where they could go completely unnoticed. Some areas where bed bugs have been found are electrical outlets, miniscule cracks in the wall, under wallpaper, inside of mattresses, in carpets, and in and under night tables. If you look very carefully you could spot bed bugs like we did under the night table in the photo above. However, they are tiny and sometimes their hiding spots cannot be easily exposed. in these situations bed bug dogs may be required and this is where Bed Bug Exterminator Pro comes handy. You can read more about where bed bugs come from in this article – Where do bed bugs come from?

Life Cycle of a Bed Bug

Bed Bug CycleA bed bugs life begins when its mother lays an egg approximately 1mm in length. Each female can lay up to 500 eggs in one lifetime and they are usually placed within tight cracks to hide them from danger. About two weeks after an egg is laid, it will hatch and an immature bed bug will emerge ready to eat. Young bed bugs have a similar shape to their parents, however, their color is slightly different having a white and yellow color.

Immature bed bugs, also known as nymphs, will go through 5 nymph life stages before entering into the final sexually mature adult stage. Each one of these stages can last from several days to just over a week depending on the bed bugs living conditions. In order for each of these nymph life stages to end, the bed bug must consume at least one meal. Once a meal is consumed and the bed bug is ready to enter into the next stage of life they shed their exoskeleton to make way for a new one.

After completing the 5 nymph life stages the bed bug becomes a sexually mature adult. On average, an adult bed bug feeds about once a week and lives between 4 to 6 months, however, under optimal conditions bed bugs have been known to live up to 1.5 years in age. To see high quality photos of bed bugs check out this great article we put together – What do bed bugs look like?


[1] Government of Canada, 2015 – Pests and Pesticides – What are they?, February 27, 2015

[2] Medical News Today, What Are Bed Bugs? How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs, June 17, 2015,

[3] Goddard, J; deShazo, R (1 April 2009). “Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and clinical consequences of their bites”. JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 301 (13): 1358–66.

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