Bed bugs grow faster in groups

This is a group of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius Linnaeus). Credit: Allen Szalanski, Bugwood.org

Researchers have previously observed that certain insects—especially crickets, cockroaches and grasshoppers—tend to grow faster when they live in groups. However, no research has ever been done on group living among bed bugs until now.

A new study published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology called "Group Living Accelerates Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Development" is the first ever to document the effects of on bed bug development. Researchers from North Carolina State University found that bed bug nymphs developed 2.2 days faster than solitary nymphs—a signifcant 7.3% difference.

"Now that we found this social facilitation of growth and development, we can start asking what sensory cues are involved and how they contribute to faster growth," said corresponding author Dr. Coby Schal. "This should lead to some interesting experimental research on what sensory cues use to grow faster in groups."

In addition, the researchers found that the effects of grouping are the same regardless of the age of the individuals in the group. The results of the study suggest that newly hatched bed bugs do not require interaction with older bed bugs to achieve maximal developmental rates.

"The observations that adults do not appear to contribute to nymph development suggests that eggs can survive and found new infestations without any adults," Dr. Schal said.

More information: dx.doi.org/10.1603/ME13080

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Repulsive smell could combat bed bugs

Mar 31, 2011

In recent years, bed bug infestations have become increasingly common in Swedish homes. There are two different species of bed bug that suck blood from humans – the common bed bug and the tropical bed bug. Increased ...

Bug-bomb foggers are no match for bed bugs

Jun 04, 2012

Consumer products known as "bug bombs" or "foggers" have been sold for decades for use against many common household insects. However, recent research published in the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE) shows these produc ...

Recommended for you

Are human breast milk microbiome 'neutral'?

12 minutes ago

Human breast milk is considered the most ideal source of nutrition for infants and it should have played a critical role in the evolution and civilizations of human beings. Unlike our intuitive perception, human milk contains ...

Many nurses unprepared to meet dying patients

2 hours ago

Most nurses in their work care for patients who are dying. A study of more than 200 students has shown that many nurses in training feel unprepared and anxious when faced with the prospect of meeting patients during end-of-life ...

Spinach extract decreases cravings, aids weight loss

2 hours ago

A spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids decreases hedonic hunger with up to 95% - and increases weight loss with 43%. This has been shown in a recently published long-term human study at Lund University ...

User comments