What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed Bugs (Cimex Lecturalius) are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans. A full-grown adult bed bug can reach approximately 5 mm long and 3 mm wide and is reddish dark brown in color. Adults look similar to the size and shape of an appleseed and have a lifespan of on average 6-12 months. Young bed bugs, or “nymphs” start very small and go through 5 life stages to reach adulthook. Nymphs are translucent to tan in color and will get darker as they molt and grow older.
Once bed bugs find a host, they will begin to nest and reproduce. Female bed bugs can lay 5-10 eggs a day and over 500 in her lifetime. It takes eggs 6-10 days to hatch and less than a month for those newly hatched bed bugs to reach maturity and lay eggs of its own. Bed bug infestations start to become most noticeable after a couple months. A bed bug can theoritically live up to 18 months without a food source. However, this does not mean that bed bugs will lay dormant in your home for a year and then return. If there is food available, they will feed and you will know they are there.
This EPA article has a wealth of good information on bed bugs.