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Monday, June 6, 2011

How Fast do Bed Bugs Breed?

"How fast do bed bugs breed?" is a question I have been asked several times recently. What people want to know is how fast will a bed bug problem grow after bed bugs are introduced to their home. It is not an easy question to answer because the answer is different in different situations. Temperature, availability of food (blood), availability of mates, predator numbers etc. will all influence the rate at which bed bugs can breed. But estimates can be made based on normal conditions. The answer is both interesting and disturbing.

Recent work has found that you should not expect a population explosion before 3 to 4 months has passed and it is only at this point that an infestation may be detected easily. When there are only a few adult bed bugs they can be difficult to detect. The infestation may not be noticed until the problem escalates because, even though people may be being bitten, the majority of people do not react to bites and may be oblivious of the fact that they are having their blood sucked in their sleep.

Month 1 - If a single pregnant female is introduced to a bedroom, perhaps as the result of bringing one home after travelling to and staying in an infested hotel, it is likely that there will still be only one breeding adult one month after introduction. However, there will be as many as 60 nymphs in various stages of development and 20-30 eggs. When bed bugs

hatch from an egg they are very small and are unlikely to be seen by the naked eye. The bugs go through 5 stages of growth (instars), each growth stage requires a blood feed. Only in the final adult stage is a bed bug able to lay eggs.

Month 2 - By now there is likely to be less than 10 adult bed bugs, but as many as 150 nymphs and a few eggs.

Newly hatched and

3rd instar bed bugs on rice

Month 3 - Now things start to 'hot up' with as many as 100 adults and 1,000 nymphs and eggs.

Month 4 - By day 120 the bed bug population is into exponential growth phase with up to 200 adults, 5,000 nymphs and 2,000 eggs.

Month 6 - If there is sufficient blood to feed on and places to hide, an infestation could now be at enormous proportions and would undoubtedly have spread to all adjacent rooms. There could be 8,000 adults, over 100,000 nymphs and 70,000 eggs.

This scenario shows that early detection and treatment of bed bugs is vital. Carrying out a thorough inspection of a bed and bedroom as soon as there is any suspicion of bed bugs and treatment with the Kiwicare NO Bed Bugs Box can 'nip the problem in the bud.' Or better still, be proactive about preventing bed bugs being brought into the home by treating luggage before travelling.

A bed bug walks into a bar and asks for 2 blood lites!

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