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Bed bug habits? It would help us to know these things

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  1. Mad_in_Maine

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 11 2009 16:34:08
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    Hello all-

    I’ve got some questions about bedbug habits that may help us deal with them, mentally and physically! Sorry if the answers are within the forum somewhere, but I’ve spent many long hours searching and browsing and even reading some posts more than once – my brain is full and we’re freaked out enough as it is. So...

    Do BBs go into some kind of dormancy when they cannot feed, or do they continue to stay active and look for food (us!) for as long as they can until they die?

    Do BB eggs lie dormant? I understand that flea eggs can rest unhatched for a length of time until something tells them that food is around. Is it the same with BBs? It would help us to know if eggs are sitting around for months waiting for a good time to hatch.

    Will adults, or whatever BBs are capable of laying eggs, actually lay eggs if they aren’t getting fed? Again, peace of mind to know that efforts to prevent bites would go toward eradicating them.

    If an egg hatches, and the newborn cannot feed, will it grow anyway? Die? Lie dormant or just wait?

    What is the time between egg laying and hatching? If we’ve killed most of the live ones, but there are still eggs about, how long before we might expect to see the next generation popping up?

    I’ve got some other questions, but they’re best left for another discussion…

  2. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 11 2009 19:54:11
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    When no host is available bed bugs wait in their harborage for months at a time until they detect a potential host.

    In one study performed with time lapse cameras & smoked paper... The bed bugs did not leave their harborage for over three months.

    Bed bugs need a blood meal between each stage of development to molt... and for a female to lay eggs. Nymphs require a blood meal to develop to the next stage & will die if they are unable to feed.

    The time required for the eggs to hatch and the lifespan of bed bugs in all stages is highly dependent on the ambient temperature.

  3. Mad_in_Maine

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 12 2009 11:03:45
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    Thank you DougSummersMS!

    I know that they can be tricky, but to know that avoiding bites will actually help to get rid of them is encouraging. It's something, anyway. It's problematic that I don't seem to react *at all* to bites, but my wife has strong reaction, so she's the canary. In fact, we can only assume that I was getting bites when she was - there's no proof, but the bedding tells the story.

    We keep the temperature between 66 and 70 degrees F in our house - can one estimate the egg developement time and lifespan based on that?

  4. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 12 2009 15:21:25
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    Mad_in_Maine - 22 hours ago  » 
    Do BBs go into some kind of dormancy when they cannot feed, or do they continue to stay active and look for food (us!) for as long as they can until they die?

    If food is not available at all in the entire property then the majority of bed bugs will simple hide away in their refugia in the hope that food will return. Some however seem to have a wandering gene and will be found in the oddest of places looking for food. I have even seen them starved enough to go for the gas cooker pilot light as a source of CO2. What most people fail to appreciate is that if you even partly occupy a property you give off enough of a signal in the property that they will travel to find you. There is some research that also suggests inseminated females are more likely to be mobile, possibly to avoid the males what want to mate.

    Mad_in_Maine - 22 hours ago  » 
    Do BB eggs lie dormant? I understand that flea eggs can rest unhatched for a length of time until something tells them that food is around. Is it the same with BBs? It would help us to know if eggs are sitting around for months waiting for a good time to hatch.

    No, once laid a egg will either hatch or die. The flea egg dormancy issue is because much of the fleas biology is photosensitive and they respond to rapid changes in light and dark. If you ever have the chance to observe eggs if you look closely at the more honey amber coloured ones you can see the red pigments of the eyes. Once hatched the egg casings turn a pearlescent white colour and become more visible.

    Mad_in_Maine - 22 hours ago  » 
    Will adults, or whatever BBs are capable of laying eggs, actually lay eggs if they aren’t getting fed? Again, peace of mind to know that efforts to prevent bites would go toward eradicating them.
    If an egg hatches, and the newborn cannot feed, will it grow anyway? Die? Lie dormant or just wait?
    What is the time between egg laying and hatching? If we’ve killed most of the live ones, but there are still eggs about, how long before we might expect to see the next generation popping up?

    Only females can lay eggs but I beleive the trigger to mate is food related rather than egg laying. I observed a bed bug female adult the other day which when squashed released an almost perfectly formed single egg. From experience I would say that it had not fed in at least 6 days.

    Once hatched the first instar nymph is rather frail and does not seem to survive more than 30 days without feeding. The process of development is obviously food driven and they must feed between moltings. They go through 5 molts before becoming adult and being able to breed themselves. a lot of development is also temperature related so to model generation to generation time you really need to look at the ambient temperature, the warmer it is the faster they develop.

    The time between egg laying and hatching is usually quoted as between 10 and 14 days but is also temperature related.

    I forget the link but there are some great graphs out there.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

  5. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 12 2009 18:25:11
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    If I recall correctly, the warmer it is the faster they hatch, right?

  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Oct 13 2009 4:24:30
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    Yes the higher the temperature the faster the hatching time. It does plateau off at about 40 Celsius if I recall correctly.

    David

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.

    "Astral Entomologist - because so many people say my ideas are out of this world"
  7. Mad_in_Maine

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Oct 14 2009 17:52:37
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    Thank you, both Davids! This is good information to know!

  8. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Oct 14 2009 18:04:22
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    No ones keeping the info from you in fact there are a lot of things we all would like to know about bed bugs as well. Hopefully more funding will become available, and as we move forward hopefully more questions will be answered which will probably raise new ones.

  9. BB_Slayer

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2009 16:31:02
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    They do appear to be very stupid.

    #1 they don't seem to know that movement indicates that their meal is getting into bed. Since I first noticed bedbugs about 2 weeks ago, I've been sleeping with a light on and inspecting the area every time I wake up at random and also during the day. I rarely see them at any times other than from around 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., whether or not I'm on the bed. They seem to come out looking for someone to bite based on the time of day rather than whether or not a person is lying on the bed.

    #2 after noticing them patrolling the area near the head of my bed, I switched my sleeping position and put my head at the foot of the bed. They haven't yet figured out that I switched sides.

    #3 they seem unconcerned that you're trying to kill them... once you see one, it's easy to capture. They appear dimwitted compared to other insects.

  10. bbgirl

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Mar 8 2011 16:00:04
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    Apologise if this has been asked - regarding the question of dormancy.....read that the usual rule of thumb for bed bug free is 5 months w/o bites...but if they can be dormant for up to 18 months do you have to keep up the DE, pesticides and ziplocs for 18 mos in the fear that they will "revive" and return from the walls? If I am in a townhouse and unsure whether the neighbours are infested........(re don't care, oblivious, won't admit it) do I have to be vigilant forever? When should I put my stuff back?

  11. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Mar 8 2011 19:28:20
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    bbgirl - 3 hours ago  » 
    Apologise if this has been asked - regarding the question of dormancy.....read that the usual rule of thumb for bed bug free is 5 months w/o bites...but if they can be dormant for up to 18 months do you have to keep up the DE, pesticides and ziplocs for 18 mos in the fear that they will "revive" and return from the walls? If I am in a townhouse and unsure whether the neighbours are infested........(re don't care, oblivious, won't admit it) do I have to be vigilant forever? When should I put my stuff back?

    Please look again at the earlier messages in this thread.

    Bed bugs are not lying dormant in a home if there is a person present -- even occasionally -- that they can feed on.

    They can be "driven deeper into the structure" by mistreatment of the home (for example, bug bombs and foggers may cause this). This makes a home harder to treat. I'm not an expert, but I don't think it would mean bed bugs hid out for a long time afterwards. They would seek a blood meal when a person was present.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  12. bait

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Mar 9 2011 2:29:59
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    See article, "Insects": Host-Seeking Behavior in the Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius (James T. Suchy and Vernard R. Lewis).

    http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/2/1/22/pdf

    I haven't read the whole thing yet, but these few lines stand out:

    In the control treatments, the majority of males (86%) and females (82%) never departed from the harborage area. Alternatively, breath exposed treatments had a smaller proportion of males (19%) and females (13%) remain. Thus, in the absence of host cues, the experimental harborage likely provided sufficient chemical and thigmotactic conditions for most of the insects to remain immobile, while movement away could be attributed to non-attractant driven host-seeking.

    Bait


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