Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:05 AM

The effect of sex-ratio on dispersal and aggregation behavior of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L

Margaret Pfiester, and Philip G. Koehler, University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology, Bldg. 970, Natural Area Drive PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL

Common bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L., usually occur in aggregations. We studied the effects of sex-ratio on dispersal and aggregation behavior of adult bed bug populations. Ten blood-fed adult bed bugs were placed into Petri dishes at sex-ratios representing all-male, male-biased, normal (50% male and 50% female), female-biased, or all-female populations. Number of aggregations and loner bed bugs, as well as the sex of each bed bug, were recorded over one week. In the normal, female-biased, and all-female populations, 65-68% of bed bugs aggregated. This was significantly higher than male-biased and all-male populations, which had 56-58% aggregated. Percentage of loner bed bugs significantly differed according to sex. All-female and female-biased populations had 34-38% of females as loners while the normal and male-biased populations had 51-61% female loners. All-male populations had 44% of males as loners while the normal and female-biased populations had only 9-18% male loners. Loner bed bugs could be adult females dispersing to avoid multiple traumatic inseminations, or males dispersing to find a mate. Because bed bug control treatments concentrate on areas where aggregations occur, these lone, dispersed bed bugs may be a major cause of treatment failure.

Species 1: Hemiptera Cimicidae Cimex lectularius (bed bug)