The Bed Bug Life Cycle: What Hotel Owners Need to Know

The bed bug life cycle is one where it’s easy for an infestation to get out of control and can cause massive damage to both your hotel and its reputation.

As a hotel manager, it is important to understand the bed bug life cycle so that you can identify any of the different stages. Once a mature female bed bug is in the colony, she can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime, which means that it is easy for them to multiply spread and get out of control.

The Different Stages of the Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs go through multiple stages before becoming full-grown, but only require one blood meal in between molts. These stages are:

  • Egg

  • First Instar Nymph

  • Second Instar Nymph

  • Third Instar Nymph

  • Fourth Instar Nymph

  • Fifth Instar Nymph

  • Adult Bed Bug

Bed bugs typically only feed about once a week, which correlates with it taking 7 weeks for a bug to become a mature adult from the time it hatches.

There are two species of bed bug, the common and tropical varieties (Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus if you’re feeling scientific). They appear similar and have similar behavior and life patterns. The common bed bug is much more likely to be found in hotels in North America and Europe. Females are bigger than their male counterparts, like the majority of bugs.

Bed Bug Breeding Cycle

As mentioned above, once a female adult bed bug is ready to start breeding, she can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime - 5-7 small eggs in a single day. Within 7 weeks of hatching, bed bugs are able to reproduce, meaning an infestation can quickly get out of control. Once fertilized, female bed bugs become reclu

sive and will hide in a very isolated area, making them extremely difficult to locate.

What You Need to Look For

Bed bugs are nocturnal insects, meaning that you won’t simply be able to locate them during the day. Apart from hiring an expert to check for you, the best way is to look for the visible signs of the presence of bed bugs.

Dried blood spots, dust-like excrement, and clear shells or a bed bug egg are the main identifiers without physically seeing a bed bug. The shells would be more prominent in a bed bug nest with a female that has recen

tly laid eggs - and the bed bug nymph is slowly starting to shed into the next stage.

Ensuring that the early signs of the bugs are detected as soon as possible will be critical should an infestation occur. It is a best practice for your cleaners to thoroughly check for these three signs while cleaning the guest rooms, as well as washing all linens at a high temperature. Any bed bugs that are lurking in the sheets after a guest has stayed would be killed at a high enough temperature.

Depending on the conditions of the room - the life span of a bed bug can be between 20 and 400 days without a meal. This, tied with an adult female bed bug being present in the room, can create multiple generations of bugs.

Minimizing the Damage

If you do spot bed bugs and see a variety of sizes, this could mean that you have several generations of bed bugs on your hands, which would indicate an infestation in the room.

It is also imperative that if you receive guest complaints about potential bed bugs (even if none of the signs have been caught yet), you take them seriously. The repercussions of a bed bug infestation can be extremely damaging to your business. By utilizing the cleaning staff to the best of their abilities, you can keep on top of checking for bed bugs.

There is always the possibility that signs could be missed, and mistakes in identifying bed bugs can happen.

Automate Your Response

By utilizing Spotta, you can mitigate the risk of bed bugs in your hotel and minimize the risk associated with them. With the bed bug life time being long and the breeding cycle being short, it is imperative that the bugs are caught as early as possible.

Spotta’s service uses our Bed Pods, discreet smart devices that fit under the mattress in a hotel room. The device emits a pheromone that is only de

tected by bed bugs and draws them into the device. The bug is then identified by both our servers and team - before notifying your staff if there is a positive detection.

Our systems catch bed bugs at the earliest opportunity, meaning that you can rest knowing that you can react to a potential infestation as early as possible.

Get in touch with us today to see how our systems can help automate your fight in controlling bed bugs.