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Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Warning: These Bugs Breed Fast

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By Grace Chen

If you have ever been outdoors in the summertime, you know that there are a lot of bugs all around you. In fact, bugs vastly outnumber humans when it comes to population. If you are wondering how bugs hit these record numbers, here is a look at just how quickly some species reproduce.

  1. House Flies - Getting ready for the picnic and constantly batting at a pesky housefly?Chances are he isn’t alone. If you start with one pair of houseflies, and assume that all of their offspring lives and reproduces, in 4 short months you will have 191,000,000,000,000,000,000 of the buzzing pests.Do you have aphids in your home?

  2. Cabbage Aphids - Ever noticed aphids on your vegetable plants? Aphids are the fastest reproducers of the insect world.  Each female will have approximately 41 offspring in her lifetime. During the summer (April through October) there can be as many as 16 generations of aphids. Assuming that all of the aphids lived and reproduced normally, that adds up to be 1,560,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 aphids in one season.

  3. Termites - Termites are the scourge of homeowners, causing millions of dollars of damage to homes each year. Termites reproduce at a spectacular rate, though many of the young will be eaten by natural predators. The queens live for 15 years or more and can lay over 6,000 eggs a day. Termite colonies can have thousands, if not millions, of termites and multiple queens.

  4. Mosquitoes - It might not give you much comfort in knowing that only female mosquitoes bite, once you learn how efficient their breeding is. Once a female mosquito has taken a blood meal (which takes an average of a minute and a half) she can lay several hundred eggs. After she has laid her eggs, she repeats the cycle over and over again up to 20 times. Mosquitoes can go from egg to a feeding adult within a week. Thankfully for the rest of us, only about 1 out of every 200 female mosquitoes lives to reproduce.Sugar ants reproduce at an astounding rate.

  5. Ants - Finding ants in your home or at your picnic is rarely a welcome sight. Ants are also amazing reproducers, working together as a colony to care for the queen and the young. Carpenter ant queens can lay up to 30 eggs per year, each of which matures within 2 months. Carpenter ant workers can live up to 7 years, while queens can live up to 25. Female pharaoh ants live 39 weeks and can lay up to 400 eggs during that time, and house ant queens lay an egg a day and can live for several years.

  6. Cockroaches - The banes of city living, cockroaches are also infamous reproducers. American cockroaches can lay several capsules from each mating; each capsule may contain 13 eggs. Brown banded cockroaches lay capsules on nearly a daily basis, each one carrying approximately 18 eggs. German cockroaches only lay a capsule every 3 weeks, but each one can hold as many as 48 eggs that take about 5 weeks to mature to adulthood.

Next time you swat at that housefly or spray for ants, remember that there are probably a lot more of his family back where he came from.

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