A Bed Bug Quiz
True or False?
Bed bugs linger on people much like lice, it’s tough to get rid of them.
True, it is tough to get rid of them, but once they feed on human blood, they immediately crawl
off digest their meal. They do not live on humans or animals, but rather hide in cracks and
crevices near their feeding ground.
The only way to get rid of bed bugs is to boil them.
False. While boiling would be effective, there are pesticides that kill bed bugs, but the
application of them must be very thorough because the pests are difficult to completely eradicate.
A bed bug can take six times is weight in blood at a single feeding.
True. After feeding a bed bug’s elongated body becomes fat and round, engorged with blood.
A single bed bug can feed for 3 to 10 minutes.
True. And the host never knows it because s/he’s in such deep sleep.
Since bed bugs feed at night, sleeping with the lights on will prevent them from biting you.
False. Also, applying an insect repellent, as you would to prevent mosquito bites, does not deter
bed bugs from biting.
Bed bugs mate by traumatic insemination, that is the male pierces the female's abdomen
with his penis and injects his sperm through the wound into her abdominal cavity.
True. Also known as hypodermic insemination, during traumatic insemination the male’s sperm
diffuses through the female reaching the ovaries and resulting in fertilization. The evolutionary
origins of traumatic insemination are disputed. Suggested reasons for its development include as
a new mechanism in the sperm competition, as a counter-adaptation to the mating plug, or as a
way to overcome female resistance to being mated.
Bedbugs, which reproduce solely by traumatic insemination, have evolved a pair of sperm-
receptacles, known as the spermalege. The spermalege reduce the damage to the female bedbug
during traumatic insemination.
As you might imagine, traumatic insemination is detrimental to the female's health. It creates an
open wound which impairs the female until it heals and is susceptible to infection. The injection
of sperm and ejaculatory fluids can also trigger an immune reaction in the female. Traumatic
insemination may be the reason female bedbugs leave an established refuge to find a solitary one
some distance away.
You can get really sick from the bite of a bed bug.
False. There are no cases that indicate bed bugs pass diseases from one host to another. Lab tests
have shown that it is unlikely that the insect is capable of infecting its host.
Bed bugs like cool, dry places.
False. Optimal conditions for bed bugs are high humidity and temperatures between 70° to 82°F.
I can pick up bed bugs in a movie theater.
True. While by far the most common place to pick up a bed bug hitchhiker is while traveling in
hotels; movie theaters, offices and planes all have furniture where bed bugs can live and feed on
the blood of humans.
A mature bed bug is too small to see with the naked human eye.
False. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and measure ¼ - 3/8 inches long or
A bed bug can live up to a year with no food.
True. While bed bugs usually begin to seek a blood meal if they don’t feed every two weeks,
they have been known to go without feeding for 80 to 140 days. Older stages of nymphs can
survive longer without feeding than younger ones, and researchers report some adults have
survived without food for as long as 550 days.
Bed bugs live in dirty places.
False. Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood and
carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.
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Amanda Leesburg, 404-842-0040