For many insect species, group living provides physiological and behavioral benefits, including faster development. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) live in aggregations composed of eggs, nymphs, and adults of various ages. Our aim was to determine whether bed bug nymphs reared in groups develop faster than solitary nymphs. We reared first instars either in isolation or in groups from hatching to adult emergence and recorded their development time. In addition, we investigated the effects of group housing on same-age nymphs versus nymphs reared with adults. Nymphal development was 2.2 d faster in grouped nymphs than in solitary-housed nymphs, representing 7.3% faster overall development. However, this grouping effect did not appear to be influenced by group composition. Thus, similar to other gregarious insect species, nymph development in bed bugs is faster in aggregations than in isolation.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1