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Bed Bug Biology


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Are cats too tough for bedbugs?
Are Bed bugs too tough for Cats?
      Cat after bedbug attack!
CNN Bed Bug Video
                      Species of Bugs
Cimex hemipterus, Tropical bed bug   Cimex lectularius, Bed bug
            Moderately excavated             Deeply excavated
                 Bed Bug vs Bat Bug
Bat Bug, Cimex pipistrella    Bed bug, Cimex lectularius
Bed Bug Development
• Gradual Metamorphosis
• Eggs
  – ~1 mm long, whitish
  – Sticky, attached to surfaces
  – Laid in loose groups, ~200 per
• Nymphs
  –   5 instars
  –   As small as 1 mm long
  –   Tan almost transparent in color
  –   At least 1 blood meal per instar
• Temperature affects life-span
   – At 37° C, females live an
     average of 32 days while males
     live an average of 29 days
   – At 10° C, females live an
     average of 425 days while males
     live an average of 401 days
• Females can lay between 200
  and 500 eggs in their lifetime

(Johnson 1942, Usinger 1966)
                                 Bed Bug Life Cycle?
                                                   Total time = 32-48 days

                                                                                        3-12 min feeding
                                  3-12 min feeding

                                         3rd Instar
2nd Instar                               2.08 mg (2.18 ul)
0.96 mg (1.01 ul)
                                         (4-5 x body wt)                                        4th Instar
(4-5 x body wt)                                                                                 4.11 mg (4.32 ul)
                                                                                                (4-5 x body wt)
              3-12 min feeding
                                                                                                                    3-12 min feeding
                                            Adult Female Adult Male
                                            7.81 mg (8.20 ul)              2.37 mg (2.49 ul)
                                            (2 x body wt)                  (1.5 x body wt)

                                                        Adult longevity = ~1 month
                                                        550 days without a blood meal
  1st Instar          3-12 min feeding                                                  3-12 min feeding
  0.34 mg (0.36 ul)
  (3-4 x body wt)      Hatch in 7-12 days

                                    Laid in batches of                                         5th Instar
        Eggs                        10-50 eggs                                                 7.09 mg (7.44 ul)
        1 mm long                                                                              (2-6 x body wt)
                                    200-500 eggs total
Bed bug nymph feeding!!
            With this Info…
• Approximately 750,000 bed bugs,
  feeding simultaneously will drain an
  average adult.
And we can further infer…

Roughly 375K
bed bugs can
  change a
 person from     To this…
                   Bed Bug Gut



      Midgut                     Malpighian
• Bed bugs prefer to bite by not crawling onto host
• Painless, red papules, often in rows
• 1st bite requires 10-14 days for immune reaction, later bites
  react faster

          Rows of bites
     Importance of
     Bed Bug Bites
• Sometimes: no reaction
• Most commonly: small inflamed pruritic bumps that
  resolve in 1-2 wk

• Allergic reaction: skin reaction resulting in urticaria
  (hives) evolving into fluid-filled rashes,
• Complicated by secondary bacterial infections.
• Rarely, asthma occurs and may be accompanied by
  more extensive urticaria and anaphylaxis

• No documentation of disease transmission
    – >20 pathogens have been found in bed bug guts
    – No evidence of bed bugs spreading HIV or any other
         Other Potential Hosts
•   Chickens
•   Pigeons
•   Cats
•   Dogs
•   Rodents
How do we feed them in the lab?
½ of the blood ingested is lost by
   defecation within 5 hours.
• Quick movers
  – Adults can crawl about 4 ft/minute
  – Nymphs can crawl about 1 ft/minute

                                2½ minutes for an
                                adult to make it from a
                                TV stand to the pillow

                                10 minutes for a nymph
         Close up of Bed Bug Leg

• Adapted for crawling.
• Claw used for gripping
  rough surfaces or for
  gripping host to insert

         Leg of Cockroach
                       • Adapted for running
                         and climbing.
                       • Claws for traction.
                       • Pads for climbing
  Pads         Tarsi
                         smooth surfaces.

Claws              Pads
     Cockroach                      Bed bug
                 Site for

                       None here

                 Pads vs. No Pads     Can’t climb
Easily climbs
smooth                                smooth
Activity of the bed bug
  How does this insect behavior make Gator
   fans more susceptible to bed bug bites?

      VS                           VS

 April 3rd, 2006             January 8th, 2007
Indianapolis, IN             Glendale, Arizona
            Primarily Nocturnal Activity
   Start activity around
          7:30 pm
           Primarily Nocturnal Activity
Sharp rise in activity
from 8:00 pm to
midnight and later.
        Primarily Nocturnal Activity
Peak activity at
    4:30 am
        Primarily Nocturnal Activity

 Sharp decline in
activity after 7:00 am
       What makes them active?

• Hunger
   – search for host until
     one is found
   – Most likely follow CO2
     or heat
• Cannot detect a host
  beyond 5 feet.
• Attractants are being
         Bed Bug Aggregations
• Aggregate (Usinger
• Cracks and crevices
  (Usinger 1966, Pinto
• Bed bug aggregations
  are chemically mediated
  by pheromones
  (Usinger 1966, Siljander
  et al. 2007)
                             Pictures courtesy of Rick Cooper, Cooper Pest Solutions
          Drywall Screw &
         Bed Bug Aggregation

15 bed bug
nymphs in slots
of drywall screw
• Possible Advantages            • Possible Disadvantages
  – Safe harborages                (Wertheim et al. 2005)
    (Lorenzo and Lazzari           –   Competition
                                   –   Natural predators
  – Mate-finding (Pinto et al.
    2007)                          –   Overuse of resources
  – Resist desiccation             –   Inbreeding
    (Benoit et al. 2007)

                                              Specific life stage
                                             that disperses
             Bed Bug Dispersal
• Disperse on belongings
                                            Luggage with
  (Usinger 1966, Pinto et al.               bed bug eggs
• If they are dispersing,
  they are alone, not
• Why do they disperse
  from aggregations?

                                Picture courtesy Rick Cooper, Cooper
                                Pest Solutions
                 Mating Behavior
• Traumatic insemination- Male’s reproductive organ
  actually pierces the cuticle of the female’s abdomen and
  injects sperm through the wound, outside of the reproductive
  tract (Usinger 1966)

            Picture from Stutt and Siva-Jothy 2001
    Problems caused by

• Nuisance
• Sleepless nights
• Inflamed skin lesions
• Stained sheets and
• Psychological stress
  from infested
                                                        Homeless shelters

        Bed Bug Places
•   Apartments, condos, houses
•   Hotels, motels, restaurants                           Hospitals

•   Schools, universities, colleges
•   Halfway houses
•   Homeless shelters                  Busses              Movie theaters
•   Correctional facilities
•   Hospitals
•   Nursing homes
•   Subways, busses, taxis                              Discarded mattresses

•   Discarded mattresses & furniture
•   Movie theaters
                                        Nursing homes
Bed Bug Places
Can cats be huge pests?
Punk Cats
Is this the best method of control?

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