Unlike other big animals like mammals, it’s not easy to tell male or female bedbug by just looking.
On male vs. female bed bugs; female bedbugs have rounded abdomen while male counterparts have pointed ones. Unlike females, males don’t lay eggs.
- However, they participate in the reproduction process (mating). Both male and female bedbugs are brown in color and move equally fast – including baby bed bugs.
Details: Male Vs Female Bed Bug
Though male and female bedbugs have wings, they are too small to enable them to fly.
- Since bedbugs are risky to human health, it’s important to know signs and ways to curb their infestation.
a. Body Structure or layout
Bedbugs (both male and female) are characterized by three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen) and three pairs of legs.
- Though both genders have wings, they can’t help when it comes to flying – the wings are vestigial.
The body structure of male and female bedbugs is covered with an exoskeleton composed of soft body tissues.
- Bedbugs (male & female) have stripe mark patterns on their abdomen and have equal body size.
Their body layout is made up of the head, thorax, and abdomen. The movement is made possible with the help of 3 pairs of legs that are strategically fixed.
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Male and female bedbugs are brown in color. The color varies from medium brown to dark brown, especially when they suck plenty of blood.
- If you pay close attention to their skin color (using a microscope or hand lens), you’ll notice a slight variance in male color as compared to the female bedbug.
This is attributed to the internal organs each insect has. A female bedbug has hemocoel and ovaries, whereas a male doesn’t have.
Therefore, the female bedbug has dark brown spots along the hemocoel lining towards the back.
Generally, male and female bedbugs are the same. Actually, they are tiny and appear like apple seeds – about 1-2mm long.
- Since male bedbugs have pointed abdomen, they may appear longer, though that may not be the actual case – the length is negligible.
In comparison, for each stage of the bedbug’s life cycle, both genders have similar sizes.
Female and male bedbugs move equally fast. Also, they scuttle in the same way.
- However, during the reproduction stage, the female bedbug may move slower than the male one due to the weight of eggs yet to be laid.
Since movement is the major option for bedbugs to escape for safety, the motion could be relatively high for you to catch them with your hands easily.
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Female bedbugs have rounded abdomen (when viewed side by side). Contrary, male bedbugs have pointed abdomen (towards the rear end).
When bedbugs feed on sufficient blood meal, the shape of the abdomen is not noticed easily – it unifies with the general body shape.
f. Bug pattern
Both female and male bedbugs have patterns on their abdomen. These patterns are the necessary mechanism used when their body expand after a blood meal – just like an accordion does.
- Male stripe patterns run from left to right, while females one curve as they cross the ridge.
- The female bedbug has a slight ridge at the back area near the hemocoel lining – the organ makes the patterns more conspicuous.
It’s difficult to notice patterns on thirsty bedbugs because pattern marks shrink onto the body and camouflage with brown body color.
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Do Male or Female Bedbug Bites?
Both male and female bedbug bites in search of blood meals. The extent or severity of the bite is the same for either male or female bedbugs.
- You will notice reddish-brown swelling on the skin (bedbug bite). Normally, bedbugs bite severally around a given area – this could be your arm, neck, or body.
- Unlike a spider’s bite, a bedbug’s bite won’t swell that much – it’s just slight, but extended along the surface.
Bedbugs have a mouthpart that has a proboscis, which is sunk into your skin when sucking blood meal.
Bedbug’s bite is accompanied by itching effects that make you tend to scratch your skin on that particular surface thoroughly.
Which Bedbug Gender is More Dangerous?
The severity of the bedbug’s bite is a function of the number of attacks you experience and the degree of infestation.
If you are attacked by a huge number of bedbugs, then, you will have serious injuries or swellings as compared to limited numbers.
- Male bedbug bites equally as their female counterpart. However, female bedbug tends to suck more blood at a time, especially when about to lay eggs.
- Remember, it’s a requirement for a female bedbug to have enough blood meal before laying eggs.
Contrary, male bedbugs don’t need extra blood when mating and therefore, they bite gently on the skin surface.
We can say that a bedbug colony dominated by females is more dangerous than one with more males – this is just a comparative assumption derived from the above behavior of these insects.
Can Male Bedbug Lay Eggs?
Male bedbugs can’t lay eggs whatsoever. Basically, male bedbugs just mate to provide male reproductive cells necessary for fertilization.
In addition, male bedbugs don’t have ovaries and hemocoel, which are necessary organs for reproduction and eggs preparation.
Related: Will Bleach Kill Bed Bugs?
Do Female Bedbugs Lay Eggs Without Male?
Female bedbugs can’t lay eggs without males since they need sperms (male reproductive cells) from males for fertilization purposes.
- Usually, female bedbugs only lay eggs after fertilization has taken place – this occurs after mating has occurred.
- During the mating process, the male bedbug transfers sperms into the female hemocoel, upon which the female ova get fertilized.
However, female bedbugs may not lay eggs immediately, it may take some time until there is the uptake of enough blood meal after which the eggs are laid.
Female bedbugs can store male’s sperms for long and allow fertilized eggs to be laid at a convenient time of the year – perhaps when there is plenty of blood meal.
Which Signs Show you Have Bedbugs Infestation?
You will be having bedbugs infestation if you notice some of the following signs in your place:
- Presence of dark spots on clothes, couches, or mattresses – these are usually bedbug’s waste
- Debris of dead bedbugs (exoskeleton) on sheets, mattresses, couches, or furniture
- Reddish-brown swellings on the skin surface – they are usually itching and makes one scratch themselves
- Live bedbugs moving about at night or partly during the day
- Presence of bedbug’s eggs on your items – lumps of eggs
Related: Do Bed Bugs Fly?
How Do You Get Rid of Bedbugs?
The following are possible ways of getting rid of bedbug infestation:
- Vacuum thoroughly, bedbug-infested items – using a vacuum cleaner
- Wash infested clothes or items with super hot water – bedbugs can’t survive in very high temperature
- Soak infested items in soapy detergents for 12 hours – the detergents over hydrate bedbugs leading to death. At times bedbugs die of suffocation
- Heating bedbug-infested room to a temperature above 120 degrees
- Steam all bedbugs infested items – use a steam sprayer
- Dispose of bedbug-infested items- you can burn them or throw them far away
- Using bedbug sprays or commercial killers
In summary, male vs female bed bugs, female bedbugs have rounded abdomen while male counterparts have pointed ones. Unlike females, males don’t lay eggs.
However, they participate in the reproduction process (mating). Both males and females are brown (medium to dark brown) in color and move equally fast.
- Male & female bedbugs have stripe mark patterns on their abdomen and have equal body size.
- Their body layout is made up of head, thorax, and abdomen, while movement is made possible with the help of 3 pairs of legs that are strategically fixed with body structure.
- Although male and female bedbugs have wings, they are too small to enable them to fly (they are vestigial).
Bedbugs are risky to human health. Therefore, you should learn signs and ways to curb their infestation as highlighted in this article. Otherwise, this could lead to serious menace if not attended to in time.