How To Bed Bugs Mate

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Bed Bugs

How to Find Bed Bugs

If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.

However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.

Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.

Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs

A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
  • Live bed bugs.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.

If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:

  • In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
  • In drawer joints.
  • In electrical receptacles and appliances.
  • Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
  • At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
  • Even in the head of a screw.

What NOT to Do When you Have Bed Bugs

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  • Do not Panic. You can control bed bugs with careful inspection and by using proper control methods.
  • Do not try to kill bed bugs by using agricultural or garden pesticides. Using outdoor pesticides to control bed bugs can make you or your family very sick.
  • Do no t use products that appear to be “homemade” or “custom formulated.” Homemade products could be dangerous and they might make the problem worse.
  • Do no t use products that have labels in a non-English language
  • Do not apply pesticides directly to your body. This could make you very sick.
  • Do no t use rubbing alcohol, kerosene or gasoline. These chemicals may cause fires
  • Do not throw away your furniture. Beds and other furniture can be treated for bed bugs. Throwing away your furniture can spread the bugs and you have to buy new furniture.
  • Do not store things under the bed. Storing stuff under the bed gives bed bugs many new places to hide. This makes it more difficult to get rid of bed bugs.
  • Do not move things from room to room. Moving your things from the room with bed bugs to another room in your house may spread the bed bugs.
  • Do not wrap items in black plastic and place in the sun. It will not get hot enough to kill all the bugs.

What You Should Know About Female Bed Bugs And Bed Bug Eggs

Dini M. Miller, Assistant Professor of Entomology, Virginia Tech, recently provided an update on bed bug biology and control at Chicago’s ‘A Meeting of the Minds V’.

You should know …

Mating Biology

  • Bed bugs can not mate until they have fed 5 times and shed their skins or exoskeleton 5 times – this takes approximately 37 days depending upon access to a host for feeding.
  • Once fed, the adult male bed bug is very interested in mating.
  • Bed bugs mate by traumatic insemination – the male stabs through the female’s abdominal wall to deposit sperm which migrate to her ovaries and fertilize her eggs.

Bed Bug Egg Biology

Adult bed bug with grains of rice and flanked on each side by a bed bug egg

  • A mated female bed bug can lay 5 – 20 bed bug eggs over 10 days – providing she has recently fed.
  • A meandering female bed bug may lay her eggs anywhere – singly or in groups.
  • She will eventually run out of sperm and have to mate again to continue egg production and her egg production will be dependent upon regular feedings.
  • Over the course of her lifetime, providing she feeds regularly, the average female bed bug will lay 131 bed bug eggs.
  • Of those 131 bed bug eggs, approximately 97 percent will be viable and successfully hatch.
  • Providing the bed bug egg incubation conditions are ideal – 70°F/21°C or above – 60 percent will hatch on day 6, and less than 90 percent by day 9. Decreasing the temperature to 50°F/10° C will add several days to the bed bug egg hatch timeline.
  • The ratio of male and female eggs produced is about equal – 1:1.
  • Within 16 days – under ideal conditions – a bed bug population could double. Ideal conditions are between 70°F/21°C and 90°F/32°C with regular feedings.

1 Bed Bug May Become An Infestation

It is apparent from these population numbers that a single breeding female can be the origin of an infestation, as Dini Miller states:

"In practical terms, this means that a single mated female brought into a home can cause an infestation without having a male present, as long as she has access to regular blood meals. The female will eventually run out of sperm, and will have to mate again to fertilizer her eggs. However, she can easily mate with her own offspring after they become adults to continue the cycle.”

Early Bed Bug Detection

When faced with numbers like these, it is apparent early bed bug detection is crucial to nip an infestation before the population gains ground. Learning about bed bug biology and behaviour is your first line of defence. Establishing a pro-active early bed bug warning system is the second step. Passive bed bug monitors are an excellent second line of defense. TheBB Alert Passive Monitor, is simple to use, costs 8¢/day over a year and provides an early warning system to safeguard your home and your family.

Bed Bug Reproduction

By DoMyOwn staff

How do bed bugs reproduce?

Male and Female bed bugs mate by what is called traumatic insemination. The traumatic insemination takes place by basically stabbing the female’s abdomen with a specialized hardened reproductive organ. The fertilization can take place at any location on the abdomen and the male’s gametes will travel to her ovaries or reproductive gametes. Once fertilization occurs the female contains viable eggs for 5-7 weeks. After three or so days of feeding, the female begins to lay eggs. As the female lays eggs, she continues to feed. She can produce an average of 3-8 eggs a week. The eggs hatch and immediately feed.

Female bed bugs are capable of laying as many as twelve eggs each day after being fertilized and having a proper blood meal. They are deposited in small cracks and crevices along bed frames, baseboards, and carpet linings. The female lays the eggs with an adhesive layer to assure that the eggs will stay in place. The baby bed bugs will hatch from the eggs in around six to seventeen days. The young emerge and immediately begin to feed or search for food. Nymphs and adults are able to survive long periods of time without food. Bed bugs usually live for a year to a year and a half. Three or more generations can occur each year.

To stop bed bug reproduction, use an IGR (insect growth regulator). For bed bugs, we specifically recommend using Gentrol IGR.

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How Bed Bugs Reproduce

In order to prevent the spread of bed bugs, it’s important to understand how they reproduce. Bedbugs reproduce via hypodermic insemination, also known as traumatic insemination. Male bugs use their genitalia to pierce the females anywhere on the abdomen, releasing sperm into the body. The sperm migrate through her abdominal fluiduntil they arrive at the ovaries, resulting in fertilization of the eggs.

The mating process is traumatic for female bed bugs, and they are frequently injured in the process. The wound can result in infection and leakage of blood, which reduces the lifespan of the female. For this reason, female bugs will avoid excessive mating where possible. After mating, they prefer to move to a location where they can remain undisturbed with a guaranteed food supply. In a safe environment, a female bed bug will typically lay between one to seven eggs each day, following each blood meal.

Bed bugs generally live for 12 to 18 months. During her lifetime, a female bed bug will lay up to 250 eggs. The milky-white eggs are roughly one millimeter long, and visible to the naked eye.The eggs are deposited in crevices and cracks on bed frames, baseboards, furniture and carpets. The female uses an adhesive layer to ensure the eggs remain in place.

Because mating results in scarring, females that have mated many times within a short period of time will produce fewer eggs. Females that have time to recover from the mating process will produce more eggs. This phenomenon helps increase the proliferation of bed bugs, because pregnant females will travel to new locations to avoid male bugs.

Eggs hatch within 1-2 weeks. The nymphs that emerge can feed on blood immediately, but are unable to reproduce until they have fully matured. Theyundergo five molting stages before reaching adulthood. During each stage they must feed at least once. The time taken to mature depends on the temperature – from three weeks in warm weather to four months in cold weather.

A female bed bug may mate with any of her adult offspring, and will lay eggs continuously assuming she has access to a blood meal. Thismeans a single pregnant female can easilycreate an infestation of five thousand bugs within six months.

A 2010 study discovered that bed bug nymphs release a pheromone that prevents males from attempting to mate with them. Scientists hope to eventually use this pheromone to disrupt bed bug reproduction and reduce infestations.

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