How Quickly Can Bed Bugs Multiply

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How Fast Can Bed Bugs Spread?

Silent Pests

Bed bugs have been in the news in recent years.After decades in which they seemed to have been almost eradicated, these pests are making a comeback. This is bad news for humans. According to the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, bed bugs require a “blood meal” to survive, and they prefer the taste of human blood to that of other warm-blooded animals. These miniature vampires typically strike at night while people are sleeping, making a painless bite and sucking several drops of blood. Not known to carry infectious diseases, bed bugs nonetheless can cause allergic reactions to their saliva, and their bites leave itchy blotches similar to mosquito or flea bites. Hiding in inaccessible places, spreading out to all areas of a building and able to go months without feeding if necessary, they are difficult to find and control.

Once an infestation is underway, the property owner faces a tough eradication process that will require the services of a professional exterminator.This must be done sooner rather than later because they are hardy and they spread very quickly.

Reproduction

In the outdoors, bed bugs infest nests of birds, bats and other animals.These flightless insects, which measure 1/4 inch at maturity, enter a house, motel or apartment building by hiding in luggage, clothing or fabric. Once in place, the bugs set about reproducing, which they can do with impressive speed. Female bed bugs lay between one and five tiny eggs per day. Hatchlings are no bigger than a poppy seed.Once hatched, according to the School of Public Health at Harvard University, a baby bed bug or “nymph” requires only a single blood feast to molt and move into its next stage of development, which occurs five times before adulthood.

The nymphs reach maturity in a month or more, depending on conditions such as temperature (bed bugs like it warm) and the availability of blood. Assuming an average daily production of three viable eggs, simple math would indicate that at the end of one week, a single female would lay more than twenty eggs. Some weeks later, given a steady blood supply, these 20 bedbugs are adults. If half of them are females and each one lays twenty eggs in a week, this means a second generation of nymphs numbering approximately 200, all of which come from just one female bed bug. The production of three generations of bed bugs in a year is not uncommon.

Locational Spread

Bed bugs can spread from one room or apartment to another through door frames, windows, or holes or cracks in the walls, ceilings and floors. They can contaminate wood furniture by laying eggs in cracks and recesses, and when that furniture is moved, these eggs (which can stay viable for years) may hatch in a new location. Weeks or months without blood do not harm these tough insects.As a result, if bed bugs are found, one should consult an exterminator immediately.

Bed bugs have been in the news in recent years. After decades in which they seemed to have been almost eradicated, these pests are making a comeback. Not known to carry infectious diseases, bed bugs nonetheless can cause allergic reactions to their saliva, and their bites leave itchy blotches similar to mosquito or flea bites. These flightless insects, which measure 1/4 inch at maturity, enter a house, motel or apartment building by hiding in luggage, clothing or fabric. Some weeks later, given a steady blood supply, these 20 bedbugs are adults.

The War on Bedbugs

defeating bedbugs through an integrated approach

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How fast can bedbugs multiply? – Part 1

I started caulking my parent’s place in late September, and my new apartment in November, now the work is nearing the end. Looking back, I probably should have stayed in the old apartment, just to prove that I can defeat the bedbugs, and to make my strategy more convincing. But the place had cracks everywhere and would have taken too much effort to seal them all, and I had two infestations to take care of at the same time, a damaged ceiling to repair, a scratched car to fix (I was thinking about how to fight the bedbugs while I was driving). I was physically and mentally exhausted and just wanted to get out. However, my parents did stay and the battle there is still going on.

Back to the main topic.

Suppose you accidentally brought home two bedbugs, one male and one female, how fast can they multiply with unlimited blood meals? Without using complicated mathematics, the result can be obtained easily with spreadsheet.

There are different data on bedbug’s life cycle on the Internet. I tried to use the average and made the following assumptions:

click the image to enlarge

Based on these assumptions, the spreadsheet was then setup and a graph was plotted, which contained three periods:

Here’s how I set up the spreadsheet:

Formulas for each column:

After 10 months, another event will kick in, which is that the bedbugs will start to die. However, the number is negligible compared with the huge base, so this wasn’t taken into consideration.

Also, 100% survival rate was assumed for all stages of life cycle, hence the result might differ a little in reality.

(Revised on Feb 25, 2007) From what I have researched so far, female adults lay 200 to 500 eggs over a period of two months. Therefore, in my calculations, the number of eggs laid should be reduced accordingly after day 130. But this will not affect the results that we have obtained above, because we were only looking at a period of about three months.

The conclusion is that it only takes a few months to have a heavy infestation, you need to catch it early and take care of it as soon as possible, once the number increases exponentially, it will be out of control. Next time we’ll examine how the numbers change if the food supply is limited.

posted by Frank at 9:49 AM

5 Comments:

Great calculation Frank, with permission I would like to post the information on our website. Even if you cut all numbers by 75% the message is clear: find and treat your bed bug problem as soon as possible. The faster you detect a problem, the quicker you stop the growth.

John
Certified K9 Handler
www.uniteddetection.com

1:14 PMFrank said.

John, thanks for reading my Blog. You may use the information, I would be grateful if it can be helpful to anyone.

7:04 AMAnonymous said.

This is great info to know.

4:17 AMN E Biddle, aka The Roach Lady said.

I have written a similar article from the perspective of what it would appear like for the "Blood Buffet" (you) from the first to the 30th day of infestation from one bedbug couple. It starts with one or two bites (the adult needs only 1 meal every ten days) that come, irritate and go away over the course of one week, and you may even have already disregarded it as an allergy to something. By the eleventh day the four eggs the mom laid on day one hatch and the nymphs and the mom herself partake of the blood buffet. And the Next day the next 4 nymphs and so on for the next ten days so that by day twenty you have about (considering 3 bites each) 60 or more itchy spots in various stages of healing. I will be publishing the article shortly. I needed an interval stat for how often nymphs need a blood meal which is how I found your blog. Nice work, great articles Frank!

6:57 PMAnonymous said.

I found one green solution for killing these suckers.

0.)reduce all the clutter in home

1.) use tape to catch and seal all the visible beadbugs and their eggs / littleones. from matress and box spring and where ever they are found. ensure that you kill them all physically.

2.) I have also tried to sanitise the entire matress & springbox by gently waxing all the spring box so that any invisible eggs or little ones are plucked out from your matress and box spring on the surface.

3.)
Use steam Iron to iron your matress and box spring (after you have waxed the matress and box spring with tape. excercise caution when you do this. Then put both items in encasements.

4.) use pillow encacements.

5.)Vaccum your entire home carpet and corners with the vaccume attachments given.

6.) if you have super steamer vaccum use it to sanitise your carpet (I am yet to find this)

7.) clean all shelfs.

8.) Use dryer in FULL HOT setting to clean your clothes just to kill the bugs in case they exist there

9) Spot heating of 120F also helps in sanitising your small wooden furniture. Ensure care when you do this. Probably some where outside.

10) properly bin your infected stuff if you cant sanitise it. One needs to be unattached to the materialistic things in this world once these aliens attack

11.) thoroughly vaccume your entire home every 2 days entire surface and corners need to be covered. do this religiously

12.) Persistance pays off. This is a long drawn battle and we must win.

14) I have also tried to use the summer heat to my advantage by storing all the sealed sanitised stuff in my car cabin and boot where the summer heat of 80F makes the internal temperature of closed car to 120F plus

I did all this and found that I have to some extent contained the blowout of infestation but i think I did it just in time or else i would have ended up with thousands of these in my home.

I will keep you posted on my progress and i make.

Why Is Getting Rid of Bed Bugs so Hard?

Piotr Naskrecki / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate and, unfortunately, they’re on the rise. Fortunately, there are some ways to alleviate a bed bug infestation, but short of bringing back harsh insecticides like DDT, there are no absolute guarantees of a complete bed bug elimination.

They Seem Invincible

There are several reasons why eliminating bed bugs is so hard. These tiny bugs multiply quickly and they can go long periods of time without their preferred meal: human blood.

Bed bugs are hardy, small, flat, lentil-sized insects that are adept at squeezing themselves into tiny spaces. They are commonly found hiding behind loose wallpaper or under floorboards and electrical switch plates. To successfully eliminate an infestation, you have to find and kill every viable bed bug, which is not an easy task.

Bed bugs multiply quickly. A single female can lay 500 eggs during her life and within a few months, the offspring can reproduce as well. A few bugs introduced to a new environment can increase exponentially. Depending on conditions, bed bugs can produce three to four generations in one year. Bed bugs reproduce most quickly in temperatures between 70 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which happens to be the range where most people keep their thermostats.

Bed bugs can go a remarkably long time without feeding, should no host be present to provide them with needed blood meals. Scientists have documented that adult bed bugs can live up to 550 days, but usually closer to one year without eating, and nymphs may last for months. So simply leaving an infested dwelling unoccupied for a few months in hopes of starving them out will do nothing to discourage the little freeloaders.

How Hard Is It to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

There are a few things you can try for removing a bed bug infestation from your home. There are specialized exterminators, barriers to prevent your mattress from being a permanent home for bugs and good, old-fashioned, top-to-bottom cleaning that you can do to rid your house of an infestation.

As the problem of bed bugs has reemerged in recent years, so has the influx of specialized bed bug exterminators. Exterminators are experts at pest control and can be a very viable option for eliminating a bed bug problem. A downside to extermination is that bed bugs can sense chemical odors and may avoid areas where cleaning agents or even pesticides have been applied. Some scientists believe bed bugs have developed a resistance to certain insecticides as well.

Bed bugs like to live next to their meal source. Since most bedbugs strike at night, your bed is a great habitat for them. To protect your mattress from an infestation or to curb a mattress infestation that may have occurred, you can purchase a bed bug mattress cover or encasement to discourage bugs from making a permanent home in your bed or trap the bugs inside the encasement.

The absolute best possible way to rid a dwelling of bed bugs is to clean or treat every possible bed bug hiding place. In a home, this means all clothing, bedding, linens, and other washable fabrics must be laundered at high temps and with bleach where appropriate.

Every crevice and seam of mattresses and upholstered furniture must be inspected and treated. Dresser drawers have to be emptied and cleaned, and all clutter must be removed to limit hiding places for stray bed bugs. Cracks in walls must be sealed, loose wallpaper reattached or removed, and carpets must be treated and thoroughly vacuumed. Treatment can include cold, hot, or chemical treatment, usually performed by an exterminator.

Top 10 Myths about Bedbugs

The insects, making a comeback around the globe, cannot fly and are really not interested in hanging out on your body–but they do occasionally bite during the day

  • By Megan Scudellari on May 27, 2011

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Once a pest of the past, bedbugs now infest every state in the U.S..Cimex lectularius—small, flattened insects that feed solely on mammalian and avian blood—have been living with humans since ancient times. Abundant in the U.S. prior to World War II, bedbugs all but vanished during the 1940s and ’50s thanks to improvements in hygiene and the use of pesticides. In the past 10 years, however, the pests have staged a comeback worldwide—an outbreak after the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney was a harbinger of things to come. This revival may be the worst yet, experts say, due to densely populated urban areas, global travel and increasing pesticide resistance—something to consider as the summer travel season gets underway.

"By every metric that we use, it’s getting worse and worse," says Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Health authorities and pest control operators are regularly flooded with calls, and the epidemic may not have yet peaked. And because bedbugs are indoor pests, there are no high or low seasons throughout the year, he adds, only continual bombardment. "It’s just the beginning of the problem in the U.S.," Schal says.

Spreading rapidly with the bedbugs is a mass of misinformation about their biology and behavior. Straight from the experts, here are the facts behind some of the most notorious myths about the diminutive bloodsuckers.

Myth 1: Bedbugs can fly
Bedbugs lack wings, and therefore cannot fly. That is unless you put a blow dryer behind them, says Stephen Kells, a bedbug researcher at the University of Minnesota. Then they’ll fly about 1.2 meters. On their own, bedbugs crawl about a meter a minute, he says.

Myth 2: Bedbugs reproduce quickly
Compared with other insects, bedbugs are slow to reproduce: Each adult female produces about one egg per day; a common housefly lays 500 eggs over three to four days. Each bedbug egg takes 10 days to hatch and another five to six weeks for the offspring to develop into an adult.

Myth 3: Bedbugs can typically live a year without a meal
Scientists debate this point, but evidence suggests that at normal room temperature, about 23 degrees Celsius, bedbugs can only survive two to three months without a blood meal. But because they are cold-blooded, their metabolism will slow down in chillier climates, and the insects may live up to a year without feeding.

Myth 4: Bedbugs bite only at night
Although bedbugs are generally nocturnal, they’re like humans—if they’re hungry, they’ll get up and get something to eat. "If you go away to visit a friend for a week and you come back and sit down on the couch, even though it’s daytime the bedbugs will come looking for you," Schal says. Keeping a light on, then, unfortunately does not keep these tiny vampires away.

Myth 5: Bedbugs live exclusively in mattresses
"’Bedbug’ is such a misnomer," Kells says. "They should also be called pet bugs and suitcase bugs and train bugs and movie theater bugs." Bedbugs spread away from beds into living areas and can be seen on any surface, he says, including chairs, railings and ceilings.

Myth 6: Bedbugs prefer unsanitary, urban conditions
"Bedbugs are terribly nondiscriminatory," Schal says. Bedbugs can be found anywhere from ritzy high-rises to homeless shelters. The prevalence of the bugs in low-income housing is therefore not a result of the insect’s preference, but of dense populations and the lack of money to pay for proper elimination strategies. "Any location is vulnerable," Kells says. "But some people are going to have a harder time getting control of them because it is such an expensive treatment."

Myth 7: Bedbugs travel on our bodies
Bedbugs do not like heat, Kells says. They therefore do not stick in hair or on skin, like lice or ticks, and prefer not to remain in our clothes close to our bodily heat. Bedbugs are more likely to travel on backpacks, luggage, shoes and other items farther removed from our bodies.

Myth 8: Bedbugs transmit disease
Bedbug bites can lead to anxiety, sleeplessness and even secondary infections, but there have been no reported cases of bedbugs transmitting disease to humans. They do, however, harbor human pathogens: At least 27 viruses, bacteria, protozoa and more have been found in bedbugs, although these microbes do not reproduce or multiply within the insects. Canadian researchers announced (pdf) in the June issue ofEmerging Infectious Diseasesthat bedbugs isolated from three individuals in a Vancouver hospital carried methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus, aka MRSA. Still, there have been no reported cases that the bugs actually transmit human disease.

Myth 9: We should bring back DDT
When the controversial pesticide DDT was banned in 1972, most bed bugs were already resistant to it, Schal says, and today’s populations are even more widely resistant thanks to the use of a new class of pesticides. Pyrethroids, the main class of pesticides used against bedbugs today, targets sodium channels in bedbug cells, just like DDT. Consequently, as bedbugs develop resistance to pyrethroids, they also become cross-resistant to DDT.

How Fast do Bed Bugs Spread? 3 Ways They Move and Multiply

Contrary to what you may think, bed bugs don’t have a preference between a spotless space or a filthy environment. As long as they have access to a food source, they can live anywhere, so claims that bed bugs are attracted to dirt and debris are simply unfounded. That being said, clutter does make it easier for these insects to hide, which may fuel the misconceptions. Their ideal environment is warm and provides access to a blood meal. Given those conditions, you may be wondering how fast bed bugs spread? Let’s look at some of their travel habits and what you need to know about how quickly they can make themselves at home.

How Fast do Bed Bugs Spread From Room to Room?

Every day, bed bugs can lay between one and 12 eggs, and anywhere from200 and 500 eggs in a lifetime. Those numbers should speak for themselves if you’re wondering how long it takes to get an infestation of bed bugs. It doesn’t take long for a problem to grow out of control, so the sooner you contact a pest control professional for inspection and treatment, the better off you’ll be.

Bed bugs need to take blood meals from warm-blooded hosts — typically humans — to survive, and they’ll hide near their sources until ready to feed. How fast bed bugs spread from room to room depends partly on how long it takes to move an infested piece of furniture, clothing, luggage and/or other household item from one room to another. They can also move throughout the house in search of other hosts. If the conditions are favorable, they’ll continue breeding wherever the item (or items) is moved.

How do Bed Bugs Spread From House to House?

The rate of how bed bugs spread from house to house increases the more time you spend traveling. They’re great hitchhikers, and hotels, hostels, airplanes, cruise ships and public transportation are ideal places to pick up these uninvited guests.

  • Movement of items:Bed bugs can move from one site to the next by traveling on luggage, clothing, bedding, boxes and furniture. They’re prevalent anywhere that has ahigh rate of overnight guests, including universities and hospitals.
  • Crawling:Bed bugs don’t fly, but they can crawl at a pretty high speed with six legs.Traveling three to four feet per minute on most surfaces, it’s the equivalent of the average adult sprinting. This makes it easy for bed bugs to travel between floors and rooms, and quickly tuck into a new hiding spot before being seen.
  • Breeding:After feeding, bed bugs head back to their hidden locations to digest and mate. If the conditions are right, an egg can mature into an adult in as little as a month and a half, and each bed bug could live anywhere from four months to over a year. Bed bugs are focused on feeding and breeding and will invade and multiply at lightning speed as a result.

How do Bed Bugs Spread From Person to Person?

Bed bugs need blood meals to survive and blood to breed, but they don’t live on human hosts. In fact, how bed bugs spread from person to person really doesn’t have anything to do with people themselves but the movement of infested items. For example, houseguests could unknowingly bring them into your home from their travels, and kids could bring them back on their backpacks from school.

Bed bugs are opportunistic, hiding and waiting until it’s convenient to feed. And if their areas are disturbed, they’ll find a way to move to a neighboring location, which can make the situation much more difficult to inspect and treat. How fast bed bugs spread is really up to you.Contact a Terminix® pest control professionalto stop the spread of bed bugs.

Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

What are Earwigs?

Most people have probably heard of earwigs at some point or another. These creepy-looking insects are associated with some urban myths. Learn the truth about earwigs, including what attracts them and how to help get rid of them.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

Are Bed Bugs Contagious?

Bed bugs are not too picky about where and when they catch a ride and don’t necessarily have a preferred mode of transportation, so it’s no surprise how many people wonder, are bed bugs contagious?

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Tips to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Your House

Now that it’s fall, it’s officially indoor stink bug season. Before it becomes winter, brown marmorated stink bugs are looking for comfortable overwintering sites to spend the cold months—and that can often mean that they may find a way to sneak into your house. While the odor that a stink bug releases is not dangerous, they are definitely a nuisance. Luckily, there are steps you can take to get rid of stink bugs in your house—without having to deal with the unpleasant smell.

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The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

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The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

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