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Evolution of Bedbugs

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Bedbugs are in the insect family Cimicidae all of whose members feed exclusively on blood. Scientists think bedbugs first evolved to feed on the blood of bats and when human being began sharing cave space with those flying mammals, the bedbugs evolved to feed on us, as well. Bed bugs have five molts, times when they shed their exoskeleton in order to increase in size, and both male and females must have a blood meal in order to accomplish those steps in their life cycle. . When they locate their prey, these insects search for a capillary – perhaps making several bites until they locate that tiny blood vessel which they feed from for up to ten minutes before returning to a hiding place. Then they began digest and excrete waste material -- often the tale tell sign that bedbugs are present.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.