Bed Bug Behavior and Biology

  • Do not underestimate them; bed bugs take a lot of knowledge, experience, time, and effort to deal with successfully.
  • You need to keep a heightened level of vigilance to assure you are properly prepared to detect and deal with bed bugs.
  • Bed bugs can last a long time without feeding. Some references indicate bed bugs can survive about one year without feeding under ideal conditions. Of course we are dealing with live entities, and longevity is based upon local conditions. As such, your mileage may vary.
  • In a recent conversation, one of the industry’s leading technical directors commented that because bed bugs have avoided the industry’s attention since the 1960s, much of the basic biological information we have on bed bugs is limited and old information that needs to be updated.
  • The good news is that there are several researchers working at modern labs and universities conducting bed bug research, and new information on bed bugs is being published nearly every day.
  • Generally speaking, bed bugs cannot climb smooth surfaces such as glass, some plastics, and other such surfaces.
  • In a bed bug video session conducted recently, we witnessed an adult bed bug successfully scale a one cup Pyrex glass bowl not once, but twice. Subsequent inspection of the bowl under magnification revealed that the bowl may have been slightly dirty or dusty and there were small ridges in the glass invisible to the unaided eye. As such, be sure your pitfall-type traps are clean and suitably smooth. Additionally, place a small amount of a suitable dust/powder such as talc as this will help to prevent bed bug escape.
  • We found that adult bed bug “ground speed” on smooth poster board is from about three to four feet per minute. This means that a determined bed bug, if a bed bug can be characterized as “determined,” can cover a significant distance — up to twenty feet in just five minutes — to seek out a host while we’re sleeping.
  • At about four feet per minute, bed bugs travel at about 0.045 mph, covering a mile in about twenty-two hours.
  • Except for the egg, all stages of bed bugs from nymphs to adults feed on blood.
Tagged with: ,