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Bed bugs are one of the most managed insect pests within homes throughout the US, and they are common in many other regions of the world as well. Unlike most insect pests, bed bugs naturally dwell indoors where they proliferate rapidly and inflict bites to sleeping humans in order to collect blood meals. Bed bug infestations often start after residents transport infested used furniture, mattresses, bedding, or clothing into their homes. In most infestation cases, bed bugs are acquired on clothing or items carried around in public places, allowing them to hitchhike into homes. It is well known that extensive infestations can originate from only a few individual bed bug adults brought indoors. However, a recent study has shown that infestations can occur in homes where adult bed bugs are absent. Surprisingly, bed bug eggs alone are sufficient for extensive infestations to take form within homes.

The above mentioned study aimed to determine if grouping behavior among bed bugs increases the rate at which offspring mature. Many previous studies have demonstrated that cockroaches, crickets and grasshoppers tend to grow faster when grouped together, but such a study on bed bugs had never been carried out until recently. In this recent bed bug study, researchers found that nymphs reared in groups reached maturity 2.2 days faster than isolated nymphs. However, unlike many socially oriented insect species, bed bug nymphs, while maturing faster in groups, do not specifically require the presence of adults in order to grow at a maximum rate. Since eggs and newly hatched nymphs do not require care from adults in order to develop properly, the presence of eggs alone within a home is all that is necessary for an infestation to occur. While bed bug infestations remain relatively difficult to eradicate, a treatment method consisting of a combination of high heat and minimal insecticide has proven to be the most reliable and popular professional bed bug management technique.

Would you allow your home to undergo a high heat treatment in order to exterminate bed bug pests?