There are a lot of myths regarding bed bugs. One such myth is after a female bed bug becomes pregnant 5 times, she readily dies. At the university where I work with the experts on bed bugs, we have found out that this is not entirely true. A female bed bug can be inseminated and her eggs fertilized many times by many male bed bugs. The process of inseminating her is what we call as “traumatic insemination”. This happens when a male bed bug climbs onto a female bed bug and thrusts his proboscis (spear-like organ) into her abdomen. Thus, he has injected his sperms into her. We know for a fact that a female bed bug can lay eggs over and over again so long as she is alive (and no, it is not limited to 5 pregnancies only). A female bed bug’s normal life may last for two years. Imagine the number of eggs she could produce within these years!
Another myth about bed bugs is that if you really want to control bed bugs, you could employ spiders because they prey on bed bugs. Some of these are predatory ants, assassin bugs, solpugids, fire ants, crab spiders and cellar spiders. Well, while it is true that there are several arthropods which are considered as major help in the control of bed bugs, they cannot be seriously considered as major help in the control of bed bugs. “Why?” You might ask. The reason is obvious, actually. These biological predators of bed bugs may find and eat bed bugs but they could not be relied upon to finish off the whole bed bug population. Besides, if you were the homeowner, would you have wanted to have a large number of ants and spiders crawling all over your house just to gain control over bed bugs? I didn’t think so. The tendency is that if you have indeed killed the bed bugs, you would have had the same problems in eliminating these ants and spiders.
So what is the sensible thing to do then? Be cautious and check every possible place that bed bugs may dwell. Use steamers, and freezers; be good at maintaining them the cleanliness in your home. There are even such non-chemical methods that will comfort a homeowner. Such materials like mattress encasements, bed bug traps, and Eco Keeper’s new Bed Bug Tent will prove to assure homeowners and customers of refuge from bed bugs. If you think non-chemical means are not enough, then add chemical means like insecticides (Gentrol and Suspend). Although you cannot eliminate them immediately, at least gradually, you are on your way to killing them.