Egg Clustering in the Common Bed Bug (Cimex lectularius)

Monday, March 14, 2016: 10:30 AM
Governor's Room II (Sheraton Raleigh Hotel)
Laura Harmon , Entomology and Nemotology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Emma N. I. Weeks , Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius)is a globally distributed pest of public health importance. It has a rapid reproductive cycle; the female lays 1-5 eggs a day.  Bed bug eggs have been observed in clusters in the field and laboratory, but there is no published literature documenting this behavior.

The aim of this study was to determine if there is non-random clustering in egg laying, and if single or multiple females are contributing to the egg clusters. Females were fed, paired with a male, and placed into arenas. At the end of the first week, half the bed bugs were removed, fed, and placed back into their dishes; the other half were removed and replaced with new bed bugs. Experiments had three replicates of each treatment and the experiment was repeated five times. Data was analyzed using an image overlay, and nearest neighbor technique to determine if there was egg clustering, and if that clustering was more likely to occur between eggs of the same female or different females. Results will be discussed.

As bed bug populations and infestations increase, furthering our understanding of bed bug behavior can help us develop management techniques to control their spread.

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