One of the reasons why bugs reproduce very fast is because they have a lot of predators. If they didn’t reproduce fast enough, they would go extinct quite easily. Bed bugs are not the exception.
Do Bed Bugs have Predators? Yes Bed Bugs do have some very fierce predators, and most of them can be found in our own homes. But its not a simple solution to introduce predators into your home to prey on Bed Bugs because some of these very predators are in many cases WORSE than the Bed Bug infestation for humans.
What type of animal hunt bed bugs? Can we use them to eradicate bed bugs naturally?
Life and death of a bed bug
The life cycle of a bed bug is not very long. They live for a period that ranges between 6 months and more than one year. It all depends on the environment they share and the resources they have. After turning into adult bed bugs, they are ready to reproduce.
Female bed bugs lay somewhere between 1 and 7 eggs every single day. That much is enough to maintain the species amidst their enemies’ threats. It is also enough to have a significant infestation in your house after a few months, especially if they do not have predators around.
Top 7 bed bug enemies
Bed bugs have a variety of enemies, but most of them won’t show up in your house. Others will, as you can see in this top 7 list:
- Cockroaches: This is one of the most common insects in your home. They are bed bug enemies and reproduce equally fast. They could even eradicate bed bugs, but most of us are not sure if we prefer having an infestation of bed bugs or cockroaches. They are both disgusting.
- Masked bed bug hunters: These guys are assassin bugs that live in dry places in your house. They can fly and have a relative size of 20 mm. When they are still a nymph, these bugs hide in the dust, and that’s why they get their name. They are insect predators and eat bed bugs and other species.
- Thanatus flavidus spiders: This type of spider is one of a kind and very efficient bed bug predator. These spiders usually inhabit bedrooms and other indoor locations, so they hunt and kill bed bugs around you, and they do not transmit any disease to humans.
- Pharaon ants: This type of ants is the only one that kills bed bugs, and you can identify them by their light yellow or brownish colors. One of the good and bad things about these ants is their reproduction rate, which competes with that of bed bugs. Not a good thing by itself because you may be replacing one pest for the other.
- Centipedes: There are many types of centipedes, and some are very large (around 15 cm). They hunt and eat most types of insects, and that includes bed bugs. They are also very sleek and may be unnoticeable if you only have a few of them around.
- Geckos: This is one of the best bed bug predators. They are always hungry and looking for insects to eat. They can exterminate not only bed bugs but also other pests such as spiders and cockroaches.
- Cats: They can surely eat bed bugs and become interested until they stop moving. Dogs may also have the same reaction, but not because they eat bed bugs.
Can you rely on bed bug predators?
Using cockroaches against bed bugs is not very effective. They are not very fast in eating bed bugs, and you will need a significant cockroach infestation to do something about it. Still, bed bugs are extremely fast at reproducing and won’t likely be exterminated. In the process, cockroaches are contaminating your food and showing up in every corner of your home. You’re probably better off with a bed bug infestation.
Masked bed bug hunters are a bit more effective because they are specialized in killing all sorts of bugs. However, once again, you’re better with a bed bug infestation. They also bite humans and are far worse. You don’t feel anything when a bed bug bites you, but these masked hunters have a painful bite. Again, you will have to be infested with these guys to really make a difference, and that’s not the best idea for your home environment.
Thanatus flavidus spiders are a better choice in this regard. Still, and even though they do not bite humans, they could when they are bothered. And you need a lot of spiders in your room to eat bed bugs, so killing the number of bed bugs usually found in an infestation will take a long time. Just imagine a spider crawling in your bed or coming down from the ceiling as you wake up at midnight, and you will understand why it is not a good idea.
Pharaoh ants reproduce really fast, even faster than bed bugs. If you’re not careful, you may be replacing one pest for the other. They do bite humans, and even though they do not carry any disease, their bite is painful as compared to that of bed bugs.
Centipedes are efficient bed bug killers, but they are very big and nasty. You also need a colony of these insects to take care of your bed bug problem, and they do bite. Some species even have poison, so it’s not the best idea if you want to get rid of bed bugs.
Geckos may look like a suitable alternative, and they are probably the best and more efficient bed bug predators. But these animals have a specific habitat. You can’t move them around wherever you want. And even if you’re willing to have a few geckos to get rid of bed bugs, they are very loud at night, and most of us find them disgusting.
Finally, dogs and cats are not specialized bed bugs killers. They may eat one or two occasionally, but not enough to get rid of the infestation. Thus, our recommendation is for you to follow the advice of a professional exterminator, especially if your bed bug problem is becoming severe, and you’re waking up with several new spots all over your body.
Wattal, B. L., & Kalra, N. L. (1960). Pyralis pictalis Curt.(Pyralidac: Lepidoptera) larvae as predators of eggs of bed bug, Cimex hemipterus Fab.(Cimicidae: Hemiptera). Indian Journal of Malariology, 14(1), 77-9.
Symondson, W. O. C., Sunderland, K. D., & Greenstone, M. H. (2002). Can generalist predators be effective biocontrol agents?. Annual review of entomology, 47(1), 561-594.