Bed bugs grow faster in groups

January 8, 2014
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.

Explore further: New trap and lure captures bed bugs more effectively

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

Related Stories

New trap and lure captures bed bugs more effectively

August 6, 2013

A new pitfall trap designed to capture bed bugs is more effective than those currently on the market, according to the authors of an article appearing in the next issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology. The authors also ...

Recommended for you

Baby teethers soothe, but many contain low levels of BPA

December 7, 2016

Bisphenol-A (BPA), parabens and antimicrobials are widely used in personal care products and plastics. The U.S. and other governments have banned or restricted some of these compounds' use in certain products for babies and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.