Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed bug science, "experiments," etc.

bedbug sex and reproduction

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  1. poorBugger

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 13:12:15
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    i captured and imprisoned a bedbug on october 9th...it's been living in exile, double-bagged in ziplocs and pinned to my bulletin board :)...

    i hadn't looked in on it for a few days till last night...and i was surprised to find my bug had given birth to 4 eggs and a poop speck!...

    so i was wondering if anyone has read of how long it takes these guys to manufacture these eggs?...last sexual activity would be prior to the 9th...can they stockpile male contributions for their eggs and use it at will?...do they really need a male to lay eggs?...in the abscence of a male, can they go asexual to ensure survival of the species?...

    scary thoughts to be sure :)...i'm comforted that i've had the opportunity to see these eggs...that they're not so microscopic that i wouldn't notice them as i look thru things...

  2. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 14:00:55
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    poorBugger,
    Wow! Congratulations your a parent.

    This is good. The opportunity for a non professional bug person to have the priveledge to conduct your own experiments is a great thing. Keep a daily written record. We may be now able to find out things about bbs first hand. Like does Bedlam work, does DE work, how long does it take for eggs to hatch etc... I only wish that I would have kept that last live bug that I found back in November of last year. One question that I always wondered about was how long can a bb survive without a blood meal.
    Send us the details please.

  3. jimmypop2008

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 14:22:28
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    Yeah this is cool. Would be great if you could create a DE experiment. Also, any chance you can post pictures of the bug, eggs and poop speck.

  4. poorBugger

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 14:30:07
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    lol lt dan!...not so sure i can bring myself to open that bag, much less do experiments!...although, i am heartily in favor of encarceration and long, drawn-out death by starvation!...oh, and the occasional flick and shake :)...i quite enjoyed reading willow's tales of oli and company, but truth be told, i may just end up stomping on them rather than experimenting!

    i do know that when it's been rainy and cold outside, and consequently colder inside the house, the bug hunkers down and appears dead...and i've noticed fewer bites as well (which could also be because my de-cluttering has reduced numbers)...and is more active when it's warmer...

    i'm not entirely sure when the eggs were laid...they weren't there last friday...but i'll keep watch and see when/if they hatch...i was sorta hoping maybe i'd get eggs so i could get a really good look at them...it's hard when you're going thru stuff and you have no real idea what you're looking for...

  5. poorBugger

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 14:38:27
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    sorry jimmy...i've only got a point and shoot camera...nothing that will get up close...i can't even see them thru the lens :(...did notice a fifth egg in there now tho...

  6. insomnia

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 15:20:30
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    Sounds like the due date will be around Halloween...For the trick I think I'd triple bag and surround the bag with DE ... No treats for the little vampires...

  7. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 15:48:58
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    poorBugger,
    Thanks for the sharing your observations. You are right, it would be hard for me also to open that bag up. Try some packing tape where the zip zips for added protection. I would not stomp them because you have the chance for a worthy study.
    I for one would be satisfied to see if the 18 month thing holds up.
    Keep us posted.

  8. poorBugger

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 17:07:52
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    here's an interesting read...a study on traumatic insemination and sexual conflict in bedbugs: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/98/10/5683

    interesting that females are most receptive for only 36 hrs after meals...that males will poke any receptive female it encounters--last man to deposit sperm 'wins'...and that the more a female gets poked, the shorter her lifespan and the fewer eggs she'll lay...let's hear it for the boys!

    think of the poor lab assistant who must shoulder the responsibility of gluing the male's member to its abdomen in the name of scientific research...answering 'what do you do for a living?' at parties has got to be 'fun'.

  9. parakeets

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 18:00:37
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    PoorBugger, can you take a photo and post it here? I am glad you brought up the point that the eggs ARE visible. I, too, saw them (I saw a bedbug laying eggs) and I cringe every time I read the erroneous fact that bedbug eggs "can't be seen with the naked eye." I'd say mine were about 22 to 25 to an inch. That is hardly invisible.

  10. UESbugs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 18:26:18
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    Can anyone say what color the eggs are? I'm picturing something transluscent.

  11. poorBugger

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 18:32:36
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    they look like grains of uncooked white rice...but much, much smaller...

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 21:12:45
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    Some egg photos here, and in the links to Lou's flickr collection:
    http://bedbugger.com/photos-of-bed-bugs-and-signs-of-bed-bugs/

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  13. Squeezeemtight

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 21:25:00
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    Are the eggs hard or soft? slimey or pearly (in feel) does anyone know? Arent they milk white? At least that's what I've read everywhere.

  14. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 9:54:27
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    cigars all around!

    an egg has hatched!...the wee baby still has it's shell clinging to it's bum!...

    this was fast...the bag hangs within 3 ft of a heat vent...perhaps this sped up the process?...yesterday the eggs were all pearly white like rice grains...the nymph is a creamy clear, the shell casing still attached is white...three other eggs are creamy now, and the fifth remains white...

  15. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 10:04:01
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    Just thought that I should comment.
    I am not so sure that the specimens in question are bed bug eggs. My eyes are not what they once were but I find it hard to imagine
    that bb eggs can be seen as anything more than white dust like specs until you put a 10X magnification to them. Picture this. The photo of the nymph on Lou Sorkin's finger, imagine that bug probably even smaller came out of an egg.
    The eggs that I found were so small that I could not tell what they were until I viewed them under 10x magnification.
    Like I said my eyes are not as good as they once were so it could be me.
    I know that parts of the U.S. are experiencing infestations of carpet beetles, I wonder if a carpet beetle comes from an egg and if so what does a carpet beetle's egg look like.
    Comments from bed bug egg collectors please. My sample were confirmed by an Entomologist.

  16. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 10:18:11
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    well...the bug i put into the ziplock (snack size) is a confirmed bedbug...the bag was new, sealed from the box...nothing else could have gotten in there...

    a week ago my son's dad was here helping out...we showed him our 'pet'...there were no eggs or poop speck in the bag...i went thru a period of doldrums and didn't do my daily check of the bug in the bag...till yesterday...definite poop speck and eggs...they are indeed visible...like very tiny rice grains...the nymph is also visible...i can even make out its legs and antennae...

    last year i had cataract surgery...that eye would still have 20/20 vision...

    not sure how it could be anything else?

  17. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 11:32:54
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    poorBugger,
    I did not realize that the eggs came from your specimen. Who confirmed that your specimen is a bed bug and how large is the bug?
    The eggs that I found are indeed so small both my wife and I needed magnification to actually see the egg. I still have one saved.
    Interesting. I never thought about this until now but is it possible that bb eggs come in different sizes?

  18. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 11:55:02
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    i id'd the bedbug myself based on pictures on this site...i've now seen 1 cast skin, 2 nymphs feeding on me, saw them filling up with my blood, felt their bite (1 i squished, the other is under tape)...i've seen 4 adults as well...two i flushed before i realized what they were...the third i found perched on top of my recycling box (plenty of junk mail accumulation for them to harbor in)...this one i captured with packing tape...i might have squished this one in pressing down the tape...the fourth i captured running up my leg like the first two...this one resides in the ziploc within a ziploc...

  19. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 11:59:03
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    lieutenantdan,

    The life cycle photo from Stephen Doggett at the top of this page shows bed bug eggs next to 1st instars:
    http://bedbugger.com/photos-of-bed-bugs-and-signs-of-bed-bugs/
    You can see the egg is longer than the nymph.
    The next photo down is a first instar next to a penny.

    This photo is even better:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lou_bugs_pix/1025024173/
    The eggs are on the red fabric, looking like rice grains. Those long items that look like matchsticks are enormous staples. You can tell they are not normal staples by looking at this photo which shows their true size:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lou_bugs_pix/1025023889/in/photostream/

    In other words, most people can see eggs but they are very small. Not as small as dust though-- 1 mm or 1/32 inch.

  20. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 12:01:40
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    actually, now i think on it, make that 5 adults...i flushed the first two, then found the third on my other leg...this one sat in the toilet water most of the day...my son came home and peed on it...he tends not to flush ...i found it later still wiggling, so pee definitely doesn't kill them :)...what you always wanted to know for sure!

  21. insomnia

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 12:19:24
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    Fascinating!!! Now, what I'd really like to know are
    1. How long will those nymphs really live without food?
    2. Is Mamma still pregnant?
    And PB, I agree with you, I think that heat speeds up the developmental process. Keep us posted and don't let any little ones escape!!

  22. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 12:51:44
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    poorBugger,
    I did not doubt you, please do not take it the wrong way.
    I guess my eyes are not what they once were.
    Could some bed bug eggs be smaller than others? We have heard information change over the past year, maybe I am on to something. My collection has been verified Dr.Pollack at Harvard and Lou. Nobugsonme, please do not take this wrong but I do know what bed bugs eggs look like. Remember I have been a member for pretty much a year now.
    I just found this.
    This is taken from Potter's page/ University of Kentucky.

    The eggs are tiny, whitish, and hard to see without magnification (individual eggs are about the size of a dust spec). When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to substrates. Newly hatched nymphs are no bigger than a pinhead.

    I must paste this again in case it was missed.

    The eggs are tiny, whitish, and hard to see without magnification (individual eggs are about the size of a dust spec).

    So I my eyesight is OK.

  23. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 13:19:33
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    hey lt, it's all good

    i think it's relative to the surface you're viewing these on...inside a ziploc bag with a known adult versus somewhere out in the 'wild'...

    the nymph is indeed about the size of a pinhead (as in the metal straight pin used in Sprint commercials)...the eggs are slightly smaller than the nymph body...legs not included, and whitish...

    but if you can see the pointy end of the pin, you can still see the egg...but depends on the surface you're viewing too...they're clearly distinguishable in the ziploc...i believe you could see them on a cd disk, probably on the case as well...but on white paper or envelopes?...not confident i'd see them...i've seen a lot of dust on paper recently, and i can differenciate individual dust specs...so maybe?...

    hang on...let me get tweezers and grab an egg before they all hatch...if you hear screaming from the west, the mama has rushed me!

  24. parakeets

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 13:52:24
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    I saw my bedbug eggs against a dark navy blue pillow when a mother bedbug was laying one of them. The eggs are certainly small, but defintely visible if you are looking at them against a contrasting background. I think if you did not have a reason to think they were bedbug eggs, your eyes would easily overlook the whitish specks. Maybe that's what Dr. Potter meant. I've heard that bedbug eggs run 32 to an inch (mine were "jumbo" eggs and they seemed to run 26 to an inch or so). To get an idea of what "32 to an inch" looks like, mark an inch on paper and draw a chain of 32 circles to fill that inch. You can see the little circles.

  25. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 13:52:31
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    ok...'bout hyperventilated, but i survived!...mama and baby now in a frenzy

    i was able to grab an unhatched egg and what looks like a discarded shell...luckily enough the each stuck to a different prong of the tweezers, so i could hold them up to different surfaces and compare them individually...

    compared to dust on an envelope, dust on my bookself, and dust that had accumulated on the 'data' side of a cd...both the egg and the empty shell were clearly visible and had a bulkier look than the dust...

    i was more afraid i'd not distinguish (and loose them) against the film of dust on the bookshelf, but they appeared whiter in this setting...

    definitely darker than the dust on the envelope...both were bigger and bulkier than the dust...easily seen too...i would not mistake eggs for dust on an envelope...both are very different...

    on the shiny cd they were easily seen as well...i could also distinguish the reflection of the egg on the surface...not so much reflection with the bits of dust...

    i also viewed them against burgandy and blue printed paper...they were white against these...

    i didn't try fabric for fear of loosing my specimens...

    i also returned these samples to the outer bag rather than the inner one with the mama and baby so i could tell if the one will still hatch, or maybe suffered damage from the tweezers...

    maybe some eggs are bigger than others...don't know...these are just my observations...

  26. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 14:06:30
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    LtDan,
    When I think of a dust speck, I think of something smaller than 1 mm. That was why I responded as I did. I did not question whether you knew what bed bug eggs looked like, or that you had had bed bugs or had them verified by multiple entomologists. Please remember, that though I was responding to something you said, my forum responses are always not just to one person, but to others who might wonder as well about the same things, and who may know less.

    Apparently Potter also classes 1 mm objects as dust speck-sized. I still think of dust as smaller, but I defer to everyone else with massive dust particles on this one. You can all look at a ruler at 1 mm and decide for yourselves!

  27. insomnia

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 14:24:02
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    I too have seen eggs against a white mattress. Yes they are small, but since I was completely aware of the circumstances, I was looking for them. Had I not known about bb's or had they been somewhere other than the mattress, I would have NEVER seen them. My husband had already vacuumed that mattress (and horrors...I still found eggs) (Proof to the average vacuum not being powerful enough to pry them from their cemented state) Poorbugger...you crack me up. I have this clear picture of you as a midwife. Thank you for your bravery...keep logging your experiments!

  28. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 14:24:21
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    Hey, I have noticed that I find it harder these days to read the date on a penny.

  29. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 14:28:05
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    By the way, we know nymphs do not last long without feeding. Lou Sorkin has confirmed this on the yahoo group (you'd have to search there for the answer).

  30. insomnia

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 17:24:43
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    It will be interesting to see if poorbugger gets different results. Maybe the captured female or the father having been possibly exposed to chemicals could alter the results. I'm guessing that Lou's experiments were with farm-raised bb's rather than the free-range variety??

  31. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2007 11:06:23
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    babies 2 and 3 are on board!...my son got to see the third one emerge from its shell...he was so excited!...now he wants to feed them :)...couldn't we just put a drop of blood in the bag for them?...ummm...no!

  32. insomnia

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Nov 1 2007 15:57:34
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    PB, how is the experiment going? Are the newborns still lively???

  33. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Nov 2 2007 13:21:46
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    sorry i haven't been around...been off planting bulbs and raking leaves

    apparently baby 2 died shortly after birth...its egg shell is still hooked to his bottom...baby 3 detached from it's shell and moved a little, but also died within hours...egg 4 hasn't hatched...

    mama and baby 1 are alive and kicking...at least, NOW they are...had to shake and poke the bag a bit...they're just so happy to see me! ;)...had some difficulty locating baby 1 and thought it too might have died, but found it clinging to one of mama's legs...

    i worry about this 'hunkered down, appearing lifeless' habit of theirs...will a bedbug go belly up when it dies? (hoping so)...or remain upright and still look alive?...and will my efforts to check for life be traumatizing?...not sure...the urge to just kill them and be done is strong :)...

  34. insomnia

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Nov 2 2007 15:31:54
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    PB..thanks for the update. I was worried that the newbies could survive longer without a meal. Somehow your experiment gives me some wierd sense of hope that I can perhaps starve out any invisible newborns. I admire your bravery--I wouldn't think twice about ending their miserable little lives.

  35. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Nov 3 2007 4:01:30
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    poor, maybe that's dormancy?

    I suppose you might check if they were alive by exposing them to your breath (warm, CO2) perhaps by opening the bag (shudder). But only if they were on a flat surface and yet you absolutely could not be exposed. (Danger, Will Robinson!)

  36. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Nov 3 2007 4:02:04
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    ps Lou Sorkin might also have advice. PM me if you want his email. He raises bed bugs for his research and would know more about what death vs. dormancy look like.

  37. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 14:57:13
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    gloom and doom, my pets are dead! :))

    mama has sported a 'belly up' look for a week, legs curled up, more emaciated than any live bug i've seen...while baby 1 would come to life and actively crawl around if i held the bag up to the light and brushed my finger behind it, mama no longer does...

    as of today (15th), baby 1 is not moving...last moved on the 12th...alas, it's either dead, or so starved as to be unable to move...would that it were possible to hear their final death rattles just to be sure :)...

    i read earlier that someone said once inseminated and fed, the female would lay eggs every day...that didn't happen with my particular female here as she was in the ziploc at least a week before laying her eggs...and she didn't lay any more after these...maybe needed another feeding and inseminating to have the where-with-all to produce more?...prolly should have fed her...sigh...ok, movin' on

  38. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 15:34:06
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    This thread is horrifying and yet I read every word of it. More compelling than most movies I've seen lately.

  39. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Nov 21 2007 14:14:00
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    poorBugger.
    What about bites. Are you still getting bit?

  40. poorBugger

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Nov 22 2007 2:10:18
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    yes...2 bites 3 days ago...after being sick for the last month, i'm finally feeling more energy, and happily nearing the end of my clutter and being able to finally treat :)...

  41. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Nov 22 2007 9:26:44
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    Hi,

    I have not had time to post in a long while but this one caught my interest. BedBugs reproduce by a process of traumatic insemination. This basically involves the male mounting the female and piercing a hole in her back where the semen is inserted. This can then be collected and stored in the female for some time giving them the ability to lay eggs and reproduce in an apparently asexual manner.

    I don't think the research has been done as to how long they remain viable to laying eggs but personal observations would indicate that it can be weeks if not months. I have also noted that it appears to be part of their colonization strategy to lay eggs soon after arriving in a new property.

    The good news is that juvenile bed bugs do not have the say protective chitin plating that adults have and are a lot easier to kill which I suppose makes up for the fact that they are harder to spot.

    I have a significant number of pictures of bed bug egg pictures in the gallery of the web site including a few macro shots where you can actually see the opening at the end of the egg itself.

    With regards the blood spot in the bag I believe it takes 3-5 days for the average blood meal to be digested which is why you will still see dropping from a captive bed bug.

    Regards,

    David Cain
    Managing Director
    Bed Bugs Limited
    London UK

    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"

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