Can Bed Bugs Reproduce without A Mate?

Can Bed Bugs Reproduce without A Mate?

Bed bugs are troublesome creatures that bite humans, spreading their eggs to multiple surfaces, and take up residence in our mattresses and other furniture. But the question remains; can bed bugs reproduce without a mate?

Yes, Bed Bugs Can Reproduce Asexually

Bed bugs are one of the few insects that can reproduce asexually, meaning that a female bed bug does not need to mate with a male in order to lay eggs. This process, known as parthenogenesis, can occur in female bed bugs when environmental conditions are right and the bugs receive ample nourishment.

Mating Still Occurs in Bed Bugs

Although bed bugs are capable of asexual reproduction, they still prefer to mate with males. Studies have found that female bed bugs which lack food, water, and other resources will usually look for a mate if possible.

Benefits of Mating

A male bed bug will give his mate a sperm plug, which serves two functions:

  • Fertility: This increases the female’s chances of producing viable eggs.
  • Protection: A female bed bug with a sperm plug is protected from advances from other males.

This ensures that the male can pass on his genetic material and protects the female from potential harms of multiple mating.


In conclusion, bed bugs can reproduce without a mate when necessary, but they do prefer to mate with males. The sperm plug provides fertility and protection; thus increasing its chances of successful reproduction.

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