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February 14, 2020 3 min read

You will be forgiven if you stayed with an aging bed bug infestation for long without having any clue at all. With these bugs, anything is possible. These sneaky critters can stay long without detection, only coming out to feed before scurrying away into the safety of their hideouts. But really, how long does it take to know you have bed bugs?

For many, the answer to this question may have serious implications. For that individual who just moved into his new home, it can mean having to relocate to a temporary sanctuary while he contacts pest control professionals for a thorough evaluation of the situation. For that individual who just booked for a month-long stay in a hotel, it can mean asking for a refund or maybe suing the hoteliers for negligence.

For a large or full-blown infestation, it is very difficult to determine the age of the infestation by observation alone. Many factors can come into play here – treatment modalities that were adopted previously, feeding regularity by the bugs, and other such variables.

However, you can be able to tell the age of smaller infestations when they occur within the first couple of months. Small infestations can be brought about by factors such as missing to treat certain areas of your house during initial treatment control measures, or maybe the guest who you hosted for the weekend, introduced the bugs. Scenarios like this may give you peace of mind, knowing you haven’t fallen prey to the constant attacks of these bugs for months or years now.

First Signs Of Bed Bugs

Red, rusty-colored stains in your bedding, black fecal spots and hatched eggshells are the well-known signs of bed bugs infestations. But don’t think these signs in themselves may be able to tell how long these bugs have been there. Fecal materials from bed bugs are only able to tell you how much the bugs have a feed. Did you notice large fecal spotting on your bed sheets? It could mean these bugs have feed largely from your blood or may have been there for a long time.

Calculating The Infestation Timeline

How long does it take to know you have bed bugs? Your knowledge of their life cycle could enable you to hazard a guess. It takes weeks for bed bug nymphs to develop through each instar in between molts. Did you see a fourth instar bug in your mattress? It could have been there for two or three weeks now.

The eggshells from the bugs could also help you estimate how long the bugs have been around. At room temperature (72°F), the eggs require about ten days to hatch. So, if you find hatched eggs butted up against your sofa, they’ve been there for at least that time period.

A good pointer to how long an infestation has been around being in the number of adult bed bugs present. It will take at least seven weeks for a bed bug to grow from an egg to an adult, so, within that period, there should be no new adult bugs springing up from the eggs. Therefore, if you find many adult bugs present in your home or any other location, it is safe to assume that the infestation he got a seven-week timeline. This assumption is built on the premise that the infestation was started from only a few bugs, and there were no external introductions during that period. For example, if an infestation commences with eight eggs, there should be no more than eight adult bugs, a month after.

How long does it take to get rid of bed bug bites

Finally, how long does it take to know you have bed bugs? The bottom line is that there is no certain technique to determine the age of an infestation. Many variables can come into play.