How Some Insects Might Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Traumatic Bug Insemination
“Fifty Shades of Bed Bugs”

By: Matthew Campbell

Are you a Valentine’s Day humbug? Perhaps learning about the following insects and their love-lives will help lighten your mood. They certainly make me happy to be human.

Traumatic What?

Bed bugs give us the creeps. They invade our beds and feed on our blood when we are most vulnerable – in our sleep! What they’re less known for is the way they mate.

Male bed bugs mate by stabbing the underside of the female’s hard exoskeleton with their genitalia. Then they hold on while she continues about her business. This “style” of mating is called traumatic insemination. After reading about this in a bi-weekly pest newsletter, a few of us at Modern jokingly call this the “Fifty Shades of Bed Bugs.”

The Kiss of Death

You may have heard about female black widow spiders and praying mantises eating their partners after copulation. A gruesome way for him to go, but nourishing for her.

I have an even better one for you!

In some species of midges, females will “kiss” the male after they copulate. As sweet as it sounds, this is not some amorous display of affection or gratitude. Actually, the female is sucking up the male’s insides. I guess milkshakes aren’t good enough for female midges.

Mean Guys Get the Girl

Do nice guys really finish last? Maybe among water striders.

If you live near calm water, you’ve probably seen these insects gliding across the surface. They’re a delectable meal for fish, and male water striders use this to their advantage. If a female does not wish to copulate with a male, he will trap her beneath him and tap on the water. This may seem harmless, but what he’s actually doing is attracting fish. Males do this to hurry the female up. If she keeps struggling, she’ll get eaten. That’s harsh.

Shed Some Light on the Relationship

Fireflies are fun to watch and catch in the summer, but their glow is not for our amusement. There could be many different species of fireflies blinking in your backyard. How a male finds a female of his species is by the frequency and intensity of her glow. Sometimes, females will mimic the flash of another species in order to seduce a male of that species. What for? To eat him! Apparently, in the insect world, males are tasty morsels. I’m going to go ahead and say that this is not true in the human world.

You might ask, “Why do insects do this?” The simple answer is because that’s how it’s done… for them. This is the insect norm!

From a pest management perspective, it’s important to know pest behaviors because that understanding can help us control pests and use less pesticide. Of the pests above, bed bugs are probably the biggest concern for most people, but this information is still important to know, if not interesting.

Every season brings a new threat from pests. Be prepared. Modern Pest Services offers a HomeCare Green Program for year-round pest protection, as well as Wildlife, Termite, Mosquito, Tick, and Bed Bug Control Services. 1-800-323-7378.