After feeding, an adult bed bug skitters back to its bed-frame joint, screw head, suitcase, or wherever else it has made its home.

All bed bugs also emit alarm pheromones in times of danger to warn others away, and females may also use chemical signals to help nymphs find their first meal.

Once a bed bug has tracked down the aggregation pheromones and it is safe in its hiding spot, it snuggles in with anywhere from five to dozens of others, including both nymphs and adults. They pack in tight amongst their own eggs, cast skins, and faeces, giving off a musty, fruity odor that was described in 1936 by an entomologist as an “obnoxious sweetness”.

After a meal, bed bugs often engage in rough and tumble sex, in part because a satiated female is sluggish and her plump body makes her easy to mount.

Bed bugs mate by an unusual practice called “traumatic insemination”. The male bed bug climbs onto his lover’s back, his head resting on the left side of her pronotum, the outside of the first segment of the thorax, that is roughly equivalent to her neck.

He grasps her with the claws of his feet and tucks his abdomen so that it curves around her body, holding her in a violent embrace. At the tip of his abdomen is a hypodermic appendage called a lanceolate paramere, which is essentially the bed bug’s penis. He swiftly stabs the female’s underside and ejaculates into her body cavity. It’s more like a shanking than a romantic coupling.

I guess there is a dirty truth about the saying “Goodnight, Sleep Tight and Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!”


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