Few insects cause the psychological reaction that bed bugs do. This truly resilient and impressive insect nearly vanished from western countries after the invention of synthetic pesticides. As most people are acutely aware, bed bugs are not only back, but armed with multiple pesticide resistance mechanisms making control difficult, and highly specialized. The simple way to understand pesticide resistance is ” if bed bugs weren’t resistant, we wouldn’t have a bed bug problem”!
Bed Bugs belong to a family of insects called Cimicidae. Of the approximately 100 species within this group, almost all are parasites of bats and birds. In fact, it is not un-common for people in more rural areas of Vancouver Island, where bat populations are perhaps higher, to call pest control companies with what they think is a bed bug, when in fact it is a bat bug (most commonly Cimex pilosellus). All “cimicids” are obligate hematophagous insects, their only food source is blood.
The bed bug life cycle is called Gradual Metamorphosis, or hemimetabolous. Eggs hatch into juvenile bed bugs, or nymphs, that look similar to adult bed bugs, but much smaller and lack sexual maturity. Prior to becoming and adult there are 5 developmental stages, or instars, where between each stage they must shed their exoskeleton to grow. Cast skins are called exuvia, and are a crucial piece of evidence when inspecting recent or new infestations. A blood meal must be obtained for bed bugs to develop from one instar to the next. Modern female bed bugs typically lay between 1-3 eggs per day once fertilized. Eggs typically hatch in 10-14 days depending on temperature. Blood meals are required for continued egg production.
Population Dynamics: bed bug infestations can grow very quickly if left without intervention. Theoretically, if one female lays 2 eggs per day, that would be 60 bed bugs in 30 days, at various stages of development. Once multiple fertilized females are present, the population can grow dramatically. If 20 fertilized females were present, laying an average of 2 eggs per day, that would be 600! new bed bugs in 30 days. This highlights the necessity for early and effective intervention.
Nanaimo Pest Control is a leader in bed bug management. We have extensive experience with all types of infestations ranging from minor recent introductions, to full scale building infestations!