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

Jamaica Senate starts debate on pot decriminalization bill

16 hours ago

Jamaica's Senate on Friday started debating a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry on the island where the drug ...

Can Lean Management improve hospitals?

22 hours ago

Waiting times in hospital emergency departments could be cut with the introduction of Lean Management and Six Sigma techniques according to new research.

Research finds 90 percent of home chefs contaminate food

22 hours ago

If you're gearing up for a big Super Bowl bash, you might want to consult the best food-handling practices before preparing that feast. New research from Kansas State University finds that most home chefs drop the ball on ...

User 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.