Bed Bugs Are Tiny Creatures That Can Cause Big Problems For Humans
Bed bugs are relatively small creatures that measure only about 1/5 of an inch. These pesky bugs live in beds and other furnishings. They suck blood from their human hosts and create itchy skin and leave bite marks behind. They are difficult to get rid of in part because they are hard to see. Bed bugs tend to have short lives, but they breed often making them particulary difficult to get rid of.
Bed Bugs Have Interesting Breeding Habits
A bed bug’s breeding habits can only be described as bizarre. The male bed bug stabs his sharp genitalia directly into the female bed bug’s body cavity and inseminates her. Lucky for the female bed bug that the male’s seminal fluid is antimicrobial and will actually reduce the number of pathogens that are introduced during breeding. Female bed bugs have evolved so that they will grow a mass of cells as a defense mechanism to keep from dying from the puncture. Male bed bugs aren’t so lucky. If a male bed bug accidently punctures another bed bug of the same sex, they usually will die from the puncture wound. The female bed bug may lay her eggs singly or in a group anywhere she desires. These eggs will hatch anywhere from one to two weeks depending on the time of year. A female bed bug will generally lay about 200 eggs in her lifetime.
Bed Bugs Have Rather Short Lives
Bed bugs will usually only live about 10 or 11 months. Once they hatch these nymphs will need to consume five substantial blood meals from human hosts in order to reach adulthood. These feedings usually last about 15 minutes. After each blood meal, they will molt (shed their exoskeleton). Individuals who suffer from a bed bug infestation may see evidence of bed bugs by finding their exoskeleton. Immature bed bugs can live a few months without a feeding while mature bed bugs can live substantially longer. From the time a bed bug is hatched until it has reached full adulthood can be as soon as 37 days. Once they reach adulthood, they can begin mating, and the whole cycle of mating and reproduction will begin again. Some nymphs will not reach adulthood. This is because they cannot travel great distances to reach a host and consume a blood meal, and they will die, if they do not receive a blood meal every few months.
A Bed Bug’s Unique Breeding Habits and Short Lives Can Contribute To Infestations
Because the bed bug only lives for a short while, they tend to breed frequently in comparison to their short lifespan. If you take into account that a bed bug only lives for around 10 months, that means they produce about 20 hatchlings a month. That means that a bed bug population can double in a little more than half a month. This is why it is imperative to treat bed bug infestations quickly. A small infestation can quickly become an epidemic.