If you have a bed bug infestation in your home, the last thing you want to think about is how quickly they are reproducing while you are trying to get them under control. In this case, learning about the process of reproduction may be beneficial in helping you better understand bed bugs and how to get rid of them.
Bed bugs reproduce by what is called traumatic insemination. The male bed bug actually pierces the abdomen of the female with his genitalia and then injects his sperm. The sperm will enter through the wound and find its way through the female’s system until it reaches the ovaries. It is called “traumatic” because this form of reproduction creates an injury which can cause blood loss, infection, and disease. In many cases, it greatly reduces the female’s lifespan.
Traumatic Insemination By Rickard Ignell, Swedish University of AgriculturalSciences [CC BY-SA 1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Female bed bugs can produce fertilized eggs for 4-6 weeks after insemination. They will typically lay 5-7 eggs per week. If they live an average of 12-18 months, that means a female bed bug can produce 200-500 eggs in her lifetime. If you have bed bugs in your home, this is not good news. One pregnant female bed bug can lead to an infestation of 5,000 in only six months.
Since reproduction is a traumatic occasion for the female, she will be likely to leave the original location to get away from more mates. This means pregnant females will travel further and more frequently than males. Unfortunately, this also means that lone bed bugs that are picked up on your luggage or clothing may have a higher chance of being a pregnant female.
So, how can this information be used to fight bed bugs? First, it should make you more concerned about bed bug prevention, especially when traveling. Learn how to check your hotel room for bed bugs and practice good laundry habits upon returning home. Second, it should impress upon you the importance of heading off an infestation as soon as possible before the population explodes. Learn the signs of bed bugs and how to check your home for them so that you get a jump on the problem while it is still small. This will save you enormous amounts of time, energy, and money.
If you find yourself with a bed bug problem, take care of it before they can continue to reproduce. Bed bug products from PF Harris are a great solution to your problem. From mattress protectors and bed bug traps to sprays and dusts, we have everything you need to take back control of your house.