What are bed bugs doing in hotel rooms?

Credit: Rickard Ignell/Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Credit: Rickard Ignell/Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Traumatic insemination is worth mentioning as a follow up to my post on bed bugs in hotels. Male bed bugs, ScienceNews reports, “ignore the opening to the female reproductive tract and inject sperm with a needlelike appendage directly through the outer covering of a mate’s body.” Yikes!

The report also explains that the male insects will happily mate with well-fed individuals of either sex until an accosted male sends out a special pheromone causing the aggressor to back off.

The pheromone can actually be detected by humans. It smells

a bit like almond, but not particularly pleasant. “Older people say that you used to be able to tell whose house had bed bugs because it had a peculiar smell.”

3/11/17: Edited to add a great resource, more than you ever wanted to know about bed bugs, on the site of nonprofit org Tuck, which is devoted to sleep.

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