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Bed bugs have six life stages (five immature and one adult stage).  They will shed their skins through a molting process (ecdysis) throughout multiple stages of their lives.  The discarded outer shells look like clear, empty exoskeletons of the bugs themselves.  Bed bugs must molt five times before becoming fertile adults.  Immature bed bugs must take a blood meal in oreder to molt to the next instar.

Bed Bug Life Cycle Stages - Cimex Lectularius

Bed bugs must take a blood meal before molting to the next stage.
An adult bed bug may have fed on you or your family as many as 6 times.

Adults and all nymphal stages of bed bugs need to take blood meals from warm-blooded hosts, which are typically humans although other mammals and birds can be utilized in the absence of a human host.  Female bed bugs lay about five eggs (1) daily throughout their adult lives in a sheltered location (mattress seams, crevices in box springs, spaces under baseboards, etc).  Eggs hatch in about 4-12 days into first instar nymphs (2) which must take a blood meal before molting to the next stage.  The bugs will undergo five nymphal stages ( 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), each one requiring a blood meal before molting to the next stage, with the fifth stage molting into an adult (7).  Nymphs, although lacking wing buds, resemble smaller versions of the adults.  Nymphs and adults take about 5-10 minutes to obtain a full blood meal.  The adults may take several blood meals over several weeks, assuming a warm-blooded host is available.  Mating occurs off the host and involves a unique form of copulation called �traumatic insemination� whereby the male penetrates the female�s abdominal wall with his external genitalia and inseminates into her body cavity.  Adults live 6-12 months and may survive for long periods of time without feeding.
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