Will You Be My Valentine? Weird and Wacky Mating Rituals of BugsNPMA
Monday, February 4, 2013
The National Pest Management Association takes a look at odd
insect mating habits
Forget flowers and chocolates this Valentine’s Day. When it
comes to wooing a mate many insect species have their own, unique
ways of attracting the opposite sex. In honor of Valentine’s Day,
the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explores some of
these strange mating habits.
If you’ve ever had a bed bug infestation, you know how quickly a
few bugs can turn into hundreds, but what you may not know is
justhowall those bed bugs come to be. Bed bugs practice a mating
behavior known as “traumatic insemination” where the male pierces
the abdomen of the female.
The name “kissing bug” might lead you to believe we’re talking
about a disease you can pick up from smooching your Valentine, but
kissing bugs are actual insects. Named for their tendency to bite
the faces and lips of humans while they sleep, kissing bugs can
cause welts and allergic reactions. This blood meal is necessary
for male kissing bugs to mate and for the female kissing bug to lay
Female termites release ‘mating pheromones,’ much like perfume,
to entice male termites. Once males locates the alluring females,
they break off their wings, symbolizing they are a couple.
In fire ant colonies, the queen ant is in charge of egg laying,
and can even control how many male and female eggs she lays. Her
goal is to produce another queen, which needs males to mate and
produce a colony. Worker ants, however, have no use for males,
which die after mating. When the queen needs males, she can
overwhelm the colony with male eggs. The female workers kill many
of the males, but they can’t kill them all.
If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a pest
professional to cut the courtship short. To learn more about
pests, their mating habits and pest-proofing your home, visit PestWorld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit
organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933
to support the pest management industry's commitment to the
protection of public health, food and property.