Are bed bugs asexual? No, they are not asexual. It is well known that some insects and reptiles only reproduce asexually which means that they do not even need any partners to mate. In this case, you may think that a huge infestation may come from their reproduction cycle that can happen asexually.
Can bed bugs reproduce asexually? Well, let me state to you clearly that bed bugs cannot reproduce asexually. The reproduction of bed bugs needs males and females to produce and fertilize their eggs. Bed bugs need to mate to reproduce and continue their life cycle. This is where males and females take their roles.
Now, let us have a look at the facts that make bed bugs not asexual in these following passages.
Do Bed Bugs Reproduce Asexually?
Can bed bugs self reproduce? Well, some of us may think that there are some species of bed bugs that can be asexual. Unfortunately, there is no research that shows that bed bugs are asexual. Instead, there are some facts of bed bugs related to their reproduction that make them not asexual.
Well, how do bed bugs reproduce? if we notice it clearly, actually bed bugs have a particular reproduction cycle as follows:
- Bed bugs come from eggs which means that they need to mate to produce and fertilize eggs.
- Then, from the eggs, they become nymph and follow the phase called instars that has five stages till they are ready as an adult.
- After reaching adult form, bed bugs will mate and even has traumatic insemination which we will discuss later.
- The female lays eggs and the reproduction cycle starts again.
So, do bed bugs reproduce on their own? No, it is absolutely not. That process happens over and over again which shows bed bugs are not asexual. Now let us discuss traumatic insemination in bed bugs while they are mating.
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Traumatic Insemination in Bed Bugs Mating
The male bed bugs need a mate to reproduce and the mating happens a few times during their life cycle. In fact, a study shows that female bed bugs even create duplicated receptacles due to traumatic insemination.
How does traumatic insemination happen?
When bed bugs mating, the males will inject the sperm using their genitalia which looks like a needle to the female abdomen. The problem is that sometimes the male bed bugs cannot pierce the females’ abdomen precisely. It makes the scars in the female’s body.
That situation makes the female bed bugs duplicate other receptacles. Normally, the receptacle is only one on the right side of the abdomen, but the females likely duplicate one more receptacle on the left side of the abdomen.
However, the study shows that when the receptacle which is on the right side of the abdomen is artificially covered, the female becomes unfertilized. It shows that the male bed bugs tend to inject the right side of the female’s abdomen.
But, surprisingly, there is a change in female behavior organs when artificial insemination injects the left side of the female’s abdomen. It also shows that there is a possibility that the duplicated receptacle on the left side of the abdomen can be functional too.
So, based on the discussion above, it is shown that bed bugs are not asexual. They need to mate and even the females adapt to survive in mating when the males cannot precisely inject the sperms.
Same-sex Mating in Male Bed Bugs
The other interesting fact is that the males sometimes accidentally mate the other males too. In a rush reproduction, they sometimes cannot differentiate the gender of the insects. This condition is observed to be common among the species of insects.
As has mentioned before, the mating process can hurt badly the females. Then, same-sex mating in male bed bugs also makes them hurt. It is observed that the male bed bugs can eventually die because they inject each other. That activity makes the wound in the abdominal part of the bed bugs. Therefore, as a result, death risk increases when same-sex mating in insects happens.
On the other side, it shows that bed bugs need mating in their reproduction. They are not asexual that even same-sex mating happens due to rush reproduction.
Can Male Bed Bugs Lay Eggs?
An asexual species are likely to have both reproduction and fertilization organs. It means that they can reproduce their own eggs and then fertilize by themselves. So, can bed bugs be asexual? I believe it can’t be.
In fact, male bed bugs do not have any organs that make them able to create and lay eggs while the female bed bugs do not have any organs that make them able to fertilize the eggs. So, it is clear that bed bugs are not asexual and cannot be asexual.
If you don’t believe it, you can check it by bringing male bed bugs to your house in order to see how the growth of the infestation. For example, you can bring the male one, and let’s see that the infestation rate will decrease.
It possibly happens because the male lonely cannot do anything in terms of self-reproduction (asexual). So, they will not survive and even die.
Female Bed Bugs Only Mate A Few Times
During the breeding season, it is often found that the female bed bugs get a bad situation called traumatic insemination that has mentioned before. In that situation, bed bugs only need to mate a few times before the females can lay the eggs.
Well, it is because the females need to avoid the mating season due to health risks. The high-risk mating session makes the female bed bugs stay away from its colony to make herself alive. So, it is also the logical reason why bed bugs infestation can spread quickly as the female bed bugs move and lay eggs in new places.
Bed Bugs Have No Particular Mating Season
If you think that bed bugs are asexual, you may also be surprised that they actually can mate anytime, literally. In this case, it is observed that bed bugs will mate anytime, lay eggs, hatch, and repeat the process in whole the year.
It seems impossible but let us think that bed bugs are literally living in our house. That is a perfect condition for bed bugs because the temperature will be likely more consistent, the food source is 24/7 available, and they can hide anywhere.
However, surprisingly, bed bugs will have a desire to mate after eating according to this study. Well, this situation leads to some particularly reasonable causes why bed bugs can mate anytime.
- It seems like bed bugs will have more nutrients that make them able to produce more eggs and sperm.
- Females will move slower and it makes her easy to be caught by the aggressive male bed bugs.
- The process is repeated over and over which makes bed bugs reproduction continue.
That situation shows that bed bugs are completely far from asexuality. Instead of being asexual, bed bugs seem to have never-end mating seasons. That is also the reason why bed bugs infestation cannot be handled easily.
So, are bedbugs asexual? It can be concluded and inferred that bed bugs are not asexual. Now, do you have any comment? Please let me know.
Hi! I’m Alex, the author of the site. I am passionate about pests including bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, and mosquitoes, and etc. So, I hope what I share on the site can be fully useful and valuable.