Love is in the Air: Bug Mating Rituals

Heart shape in a shrub

It’s February, a month of love. Come Valentine’s Day, when you’re showering your partner with affection, countless bugs around the country will be doing the same. Maybe they won’t be stepping out for a night on the town or buying their sweetie flowers or chocolates. But they sure will be showing love. That’s right. Bugs give love, too. And in this blog, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ll be discussing some surprising bug mating rituals.


Harvestmen, often called daddy long legs, are close relatives of spiders. In some species, the males give a “nuptial gift” of a dead bug to the females they are courting. If the female accepts the offer of food, then mating will commence. In tough times when food is scarce, the males may choose to produce a giant spitball instead. Better than nothing, right?

Bed Bugs

Male bed bugs don’t snuggle with their partners on Valentine’s Day; they perform traumatic insemination. When attempting to mate, the males of the species puncture the abdomen of females to directly inseminate her body cavity. Sometimes, unsuspecting male bed bugs are killed during the process. Cupid seems to have missed the mark with this species.

Kissing Bugs

Kissing bugs get their name from the human body parts they tend to be attracted to—faces and lips. That’s right, kissing bugs are known to give love bites to the faces and lips of humans while they lay sleeping. The bites serve as a blood meal that’s necessary for males to mate, and for females to lay eggs. Love bites!

Fire Ants

Male fire ants have a sole purpose: to mate with their queens. Unfortunately for the males, they meet their demise soon after their courtship. Females, on the other hand, thrive, living for up to seven years and laying more than 1,000 eggs each day.

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