Weird fact:  Bed bugs Mate by Traumatic Insemination.

Bed Bug History

Bed bugs are a weird bug that have plagued humans for thousands of years. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote about bed bug infestations as early as 450 BC, and they remained commonplace in almost every part of the world until the 1950’s.   With the wide- spread use of pesticides like DDT and hydrocyanic acid, they were almost eliminated…almost but not completely.  Over the past 10 years they have staged a dramatic comeback.  In fact, it has been said that almost every hotel on the planet has dealt with a bed bug infestation in the past 10 years.


Female bed bugs have no external genitalia and mate through traumatic insemination. This is a process where the male bed bug fertilizes the female’s eggs by piercing the side of her exoskeleton.   The process is potentially fatal for the female bed bug.  If she mates with too many males before her exoskeleton heals, she may die.


Traumatic insemination is part of the reason why bed bugs spread. Bed bugs tend to congregate in groups called broods. These broods will generally be close to their food source, which is likely a bed but may be a night table, a head-board or a nearby chair. Once a brood gets too big and has too many males, the pregnant females will search for a place away from the brood to lay her eggs. If you are staying in a hotel your suitcase, your laptop, your makeup bag or your shoes are all fair game if they are accessible to a pregnant female bed bug looking for a new place to lay eggs.

Practical Help:

There are things you can do to help avoid taking home a pregnant female when staying in a hotel:

The first thing you should do is put your luggage in the bathroom, either on the tub or on the toilet.  The second thing you should do is methodically inspect the room.   You will want to inspect the bed, headboard, night table, tables and chairs looking for telltale signs of bed bug activity.

Here is a video that walks you through the process of checking a room:


Author’s note:

People ask me how I know so much about the subject of bed bugs. The truth is my wife and I rented a recreation vehicle about a year ago that had bed bugs. I know because I saw one walk our bed. We lived for 10 days in that motor home and consoled ourselves with the thought that no matter what we were not going to take them into our house when we got home.
Before that trip my wife had called me paranoid about the subject but not anymore. If you have been exposed to bed bugs, you know how hard it is to sleep afterward. You feel like they are on you all the time. Luckily, I had read The Bed Bug Survival Guide: The Only Book You Need to Eliminate or Avoid This Pest Now by Jeff Eisenberg. His book really saved us from what could have been an expensive pest control bill. We were able to clean, wash or heat-treat all of our clothes, shoes children’s toys and get everything back into the house. We even had our house checked by a bed bug sniffing dog just to make sure we were okay…thanks Jeff we owe you a lot more than the $10 I paid for the book.


Copyright © Mark Beselt