Reproductive Potential of Field-collected Populations of Cimex lectularius L. and the Cost of Traumatic Insemination
Egg production was compared among three field-collected bed bug strains over the course of 13 feeding/oviposition cycles, each of which lasted ~10 days. No significant differences were found among bed bug strains in the mean number of eggs/female/day (~1.0 egg). However, significant differences were found among strains in their patterns of egg production throughout the study period. Specifically, differences were observed in the timing of peak egg production and the rapidity of egg production decline among the three strains. Egg production was also quantified for female bed bugs that were subjected to single or multiple traumatic insemination events over a period of six feeding/oviposition cycles. Significant differences were found in egg production between females exposed to single and multiple inseminations. Females mated only once produced 83.8 4.5 (mean SE) eggs over six feeding cycles. Females exposed to multiple inseminations produced 61.0 3.1 eggs, indicating that multiple traumatic inseminations may reduce female fecundity by as much as 27%. This study is the first to suggest that, in a new infestation (first ~6 weeks), a solitary, singly-mated female with access to regular blood meals is capable of producing greater numbers of offspring than the same female in the presence of a male.