Apparently, bed bugs reproduce by inbreeding
. A recent study released by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
shows that bed bugs are able to reproduce with their kin, without genetic deterioration. This has a couple implications to those of us facing the bed bugs epidemic.
First, this means that it only takes a few bed bugs to infest a new location. Then the offspring of those bed bugs can continue to spread across the same location or to new locations. It looks like bed bug populations won't be hitting a genetic "brick wall" anytime soon. All the more reason to heat-treat your belongings before entering your home. It's much easier to get rid of bed bugs before an infestation.
Second, this gives more evidence that bed bed bugs are incredibly genetically resilient. Several bed bugs populations have already shown a genetic resistance to pesticides
and now they are also able to mutate beyond the negative effects of inbreeding. One thing is for sure, bed bugs will have a much harder time developing a resistance to mechanical means of extermination...like heat.