Bed Bugs: 'Stealthy Blood Feeders'
Just ask Kenneth Haynes.
"Despite their proclivity to hide near to where we sleep and stealthily feed on our blood, bed bugs are extremely fascinating insects," he writes on his website.
Haynes, a professor at the University of Kentucky who received his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Davis, in 1982, will return to the UC Davis campus on Wednesday, Nov. 20 to present the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Lecture.
His topic should gain a lot of interest.
Bed bugs, unfortunately, are making a comeback.
Haynes will speak on "Life Undercover: Behavioral Characteristics of a Stealthy Blood Feeder" at the seminar hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology from 6 to 7 p.m. in Memorial Union II. A reception from 5 to 6 p.m. will precede the seminar.
"The recent world-wide resurgence of the bed bugs has prompted my laboratory group to investigate unique aspects of their behavior," Haynes said. "Bed bugs are well adapted to stealthy habits that often lead the host to be unaware of an expanding population. Their activity pattern is governed by a circadian clock that dictates that they primarily feed late at night. Carbon dioxide plays a role in stimulating movement, with heat and perhaps other semiochemicals playing a role in attraction. The early instars are not as effective in finding hosts as the later stages or adults. Signals produced by mature females facilitate host-finding by the first instars, suggesting a parental role. Re-aggregation in cracks and crevices around the bed following foraging bouts is in part mediated by pheromones. The nature of the behavioral responses to host and habitat cues provide leads to pest management."
Haynes, the Bobby C. Pass Professor of Entomology at the University of Kentucky, joined the faculty in 1986. He received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in 1982, working with Professor Martin C. Birch, now deceased. Haynes went on to conduct postdoctoral research at UC Riverside, working with Professor Thomas C. Baker.
Haynes maintains a broad interest in behavioral aspects of chemical ecology, and not just bed bugs. "I have been excited to have the opportunity to study diverse taxa including moths, beetles, bed bugs and bolas spiders," he said. Haynes taught insect biology, insect behavior and graduate seminars in behavior and chemical ecology. He authored a book on “Insect Pheromones” with Martin C. Birch, edited two volumes on “Methods in Chemical Ecology” with Professor Jocelyn G. Millar, and has published more than 100 scientific papers and reviews.
Haynes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the C. V. Riley Award from the North Central Branch of the Entomological Society of America, and research recognitions from the University of Kentucky.
Want to see bed bug behavior? Check out the videos on his website and then attend his UC Davis lecture.
This bed bug was a popular attraction at a Briggs Hall display during the 2012 UC Davis Picnic Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)