Bed bugs reproduced through a process called “traumatic insemination.”
Although female bed bugs do possess a reproductive tract, it is not used by males in inseminating and fertilizing eggs. Rather male bed bugs will pierce the body cavity of the female and inject sperm into the body of the female, where it uses her bloodstream to reach a storage area ready for her to ovulate. Fertilization actually happens in her ovaries.
As if that’s not weird enough, male bed bugs don’t even care who they inseminate—they will attempt to mate with any bed bug which has recently fed, including other males and nymphs!
Male bed bugs do produce a pheromone to try to fend off the advances of their male counterparts, however.
The story on NPR explains the mating habits of bed bugs and also how inbreeding increases the resistance of bed bugs to modern pesticides and how, although inbreeding in other species is bad because of bad genes which can be reinforced in inbred populations, inbreeding makes bed bug populations more successful. Scientists have found that bed bug populations even in different apartments in the same building will not mate with one another!
You can listen to the Science Friday segment HERE.
Bed bugs go through six stages of life on their way to adulthood and they molt between each stage, which is one of the reasons they leave so much debris where they live for us to detect. They also give off a smell similar to almonds, coriander, cilantro or over-ripe raspberries. Bed bug detection dogs have a tested 97.5% success rate in finding bed bug infestations, and find them much more quickly than a visual inspection. These dogs are becoming more common for use in inspecting large residential buildings like college dorms so that infestations can be caught early.
If you have or suspect you have a bed bug infestation in your home, apartment, or other structure, please call in a professional! DIY solutions to bed bugs don’t work and can be dangers due to introduction of poisonous chemicals into the environment. Heat treatment is the only proven way to eradicate bed bugs at every stage of life in one treatment.
If you would like to see how ThermaPureHeat works, check out this blog post which features a video of Alliance Environmental pest control professionals using our ThermaPureHeat system in Berkeley.
We all hope to never encounter a bed bug, but if you do, don’t panic! A bed bug infestation doesn’t have to be the end of the world or your favorite couch! But if you’re getting new furniture for a holiday gift, be sure to inspect it carefully before bringing it inside!
Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. She welcomes your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!