Bed Bug Control


Aak, A., E. Roligheten, B. A. Rukke, and T. Birkemoe. 2017. Desiccant dust and the use of CO2 gas as a mobility stimulant for bed bugs: a potential control solution? Journal of Pest Science. 90: 249–259. doi: 10.1007/s10340-016-0784-1

“The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius, Hemiptera; Cimicidae) infests homes and service industries, and the number of infestations has greatly increased over the past 20 years. At present, no cost-effective control methods are available, and eradication programs are expensive and laborious. We investigated the control potential of desiccant dust in combination with CO2 as a bed bug activity stimulant. An initial experiment with two desiccant dusts was followed by arena studies with varying doses, available hiding places and the presence or absence of host signals. Finally, we conducted a field experiment with Syloid 244FP with or without CO2 gas. Syloid was superior compared to diatomaceous earth, and effective at the concentration of 1.0 g/m2 in the field experiment. The number of harborages and partial application of desiccant dust decreased mortality in the laboratory. Bed bug activation by CO2appeared of minor importance in the arena studies, but was crucial for the eradication in the student dormitories. In fact, all 5 bed bug-infested dormitories with a combined treatment of desiccant dust and CO2 were freed of bed bugs, whereas eradication was not successful in any of the 6 dormitories with only desiccant dust treatment. The different results in the laboratory and field experiment were most likely caused by the longer activation and higher dose of CO2 used in the field experiment than the laboratory experiment. Our study showed that application of desiccant dust in combination with release of CO2 gas to mimic human presence is a promising option for bed bug control.”

Agnew, J. L., and A. Romero. 2017. Behavioral responses of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, to insecticide dusts. Insects. 8: 83. doi: 10.3390/insects8030083

“Bed bugs have reemerged recently as a serious and growing problem not only in North America but in many parts of the world. These insects have become the most challenging pest to control in urban environments. Residual insecticides are the most common methods used for bed bug control; however, insecticide resistance limits the efficacy of treatments. Desiccant dusts have emerged as a good option to provide a better residual effect for bed bug control. Several studies have focused on determining the efficacy of dust-based insecticides against bed bugs. However, behavioral responses of bed bugs to insecticide dusts could influence their efficacy. The behavioral responses of bed bugs to six insecticide dusts commonly used in the United States were evaluated with an advanced video tracking technique (Ethovision). Bed bugs took longer to make first contact with areas treated with the diatomaceous earth (DE)-based products MotherEarth D and Alpine than pyrethroid, pyrethrins or silica gel based products, DeltaDust, Tempo 1% Dust and CimeXa, respectively. Lower visitation rates of bed bugs were recorded for areas treated with MotherEarth D, Alpine and CimeXa than that of DeltaDust, Tempo 1% Dust, and Tri-Die Silica + Pyrethrum Dust. Bed bugs spent less time in areas treated with Tri-Die Dust, CimeXa, Alpine, and MotherEarth D than DeltaDust and Tempo 1% Dust, and they exhibited a reduction in locomotor parameters when crawling on areas treated with CimeXa and Alpine. The implications of these responses to bed bug control are discussed.”

Barbarin, A. M., G. S. Bellicanta, J. A. Osborne, C. Schal, and N. E. Jenkins. 2017. Susceptibility of insecticide-resistant bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) to infection by fungal biopesticide. Pest Management Science. 73: 1568–1573. doi: 10.1002/ps.4576

“Bed bugs are a public health concern, and their incidence is increasing worldwide. Bed bug infestations are notoriously difficult to eradicate, further exacerbated by widespread resistance to pyrethroid and neonicotinoid insecticides. This study evaluated the efficacy of the newly developed fungal biopesticide Aprehend™, containing Beauveria bassiana, against insecticide-resistant bed bugs. Overall mortality for the Harold Harlan (insecticide-susceptible) strain was high (98–100%) following exposure to Aprehend™ or Suspend SC (deltamethrin). The mean survival times (MSTs) for Harold Harlan bed bugs were 5.1 days for Aprehend™ and 4.8 and 3.0 days for the low and high concentrations of Suspend SC respectively. All three strains of pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs were susceptible to infection by B. bassiana, resulting in MSTs of <6 days (median = 4 days) and >94% overall mortality. Conversely, mortality of the three insecticide-resistant strains after exposure to Suspend SC was only 16-40%. These results demonstrate that Aprehend™ is equally effective against insecticide-susceptible and insecticide-resistant bed bugs and could provide pest control operators with a promising new tool for control of bed bugs and insecticide resistance management.”

Campbell, B. E., and D. M. Miller. 2017. A method for evaluating insecticide efficacy against bed bug, Cimex lectularius, eggs and first instars. JoVE. e55092–e55092. doi: 10.3791/55092

“Standard toxicity evaluations of insecticides against insect pests are primarily conducted on adult insects. Evaluations are based on a dose-response or concentration-response curve, where mortality increases as the dose or concentration of an insecticide is increased. Standard lethal concentration (LC50) and lethal dose (LD50) tests that result in 50% mortality of a test population can be challenging for evaluating toxicity of insecticides against non-adult insect life stages, such as eggs and early instar or nymphal stages. However, this information is essential for understanding insecticide efficacy in all bed bug life stages, which affects control and treatment efforts. This protocol uses a standard dipping bioassay modified for bed bug eggs and a contact insecticidal assay for treating nymphal first instars. These assays produce a concentration-response curve to further quantify LC50 values for insecticide evaluations.”

Crawley, S. E., J. R. Gordon, K. A. Kowles, M. F. Potter, and K. F. Haynes. 2017. Impact of sublethal exposure to a pyrethroid-neonicotinoid insecticide on mating, fecundity and development in the bed bug Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). PLoS One. 12. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177410

“Sublethal exposure to an insecticide may alter insect feeding, mating, oviposition, fecundity, development, and many other life history parameters. Such effects may have population-level consequences that are not apparent in traditional dose-mortality evaluations. Earlier, we found that a routinely used combination insecticide that includes a pyrethroid and a neonicotinoid (Temprid® SC) had deleterious effects on multiple bed bug (Cimex lectularius, L.) behaviors. Here, we demonstrate that sublethal exposure impacts physiology and reproduction as well. We report that sublethal exposure to Temprid SC has variable aberrant effects on bed bugs depending on the strain, including: a reduction in male mating success and delayed oviposition by females. However, after sublethal exposure, egg hatch rate consistently declined in every strain tested, anywhere from 34%-73%. Conversely, impact on fifth instar eclosion time was not significant. While the strains that we tested varied in their respective magnitude of sublethal effects, taken together, these effects could reduce bed bug population growth. These changes in bed bug behavior and fecundity could lead to improved efficacy of Temprid SC in the field, but recovery of impacted bugs must be considered in future studies. Sublethal effects should not be overlooked when evaluating insecticide efficacy, as it is likely that other products may also have indirect effects on population dynamics that could either aid or inhibit successful management of pest populations.”

Crawley, S. E., K. A. Kowles, J. R. Gordon, M. F. Potter, and K. F. Haynes. 2017. Behavioral effects of sublethal exposure to a combination of β-cyfluthrin and imidacloprid in the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. Pest Management Science. 73: 598–603. doi: 10.1002/ps.4342

“Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are blood-feeding insect pests with public health relevance. Their rapid evolution of resistance to pyrethroids has prompted a shift to combination products that include both a pyrethroid and neonicotinoid insecticide. Insecticides have both a direct impact on mortality and an indirect effect on behavior. Thus, we assessed the sublethal effects of a widely used combination product containing β-cyfluthrin (a pyrethroid) and imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid), as unexpected behavioral changes after exposure have been known to affect efficacy of insecticides. We found that bed bugs exposed to sublethal doses of a combination product containing β-cyfluthrin and imidacloprid did not feed as effectively as untreated bugs. Their locomotion behavior was also reduced. However, aggregation in response to the presence of conspecific harborages was not affected by sublethal exposure. Bed bugs exhibit behavioral changes after sublethal exposure to a combination product that could affect pest management choices and outcomes. A reduction in host-finding efficiency and feeding could complement the lethal effects of the insecticide. Alternatively, reduced locomotion following exposure could limit ongoing contact with insecticide deposits. However, an overall reduction in movement indicates that treatments are unlikely to cause dispersal of bugs to adjacent dwellings.”

Dang, K., G. V. Singham, S. L. Doggett, D. G. Lilly, and C.-Y. Lee. 2017. Effects of different surfaces and insecticide carriers on residual insecticide bioassays against bed bugs, Cimex spp. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 110: 558–566. doi: 10.1093/jee/tow296

“The performance of five insecticides (bendiocarb, deltamethrin, DDT, malathion, and imidacloprid) using three application methods (oil-based insecticide films on filter paper, and acetone-based insecticide deposits on two substrates: filter paper and glass) was assessed against a susceptible strain of Cimex lectularius (L.) and two resistant strains of Cimex hemipterus (F.). Substrate type significantly affected (P<0.05) the insecticide knockdown response of the susceptible strain in acetone-based insecticide bioassays, with longer survival time on filter paper than on the glass surface. With the exception of deltamethrin, the different diluents (oil and acetone) also significantly affected (P<0.05) the insecticide knockdown response of the susceptible strain in the filter paper-based insecticide bioassays, with longer survival time with acetone as the diluent. For both strains of C. hemipterus, there were no significant effects with the different surfaces and diluents for all insecticides except for malathion and imidacloprid, which was largely due to high levels of resistance. The lower effectiveness for the insecticide acetone-based treatment on filter paper may be due to crystal bloom. This occurs when an insecticide, dissolved in a volatile solvent, is applied onto absorptive surfaces. The effect is reduced on nonabsorptive surfaces and slowed down with oil-based insecticides, whereby the oil forms a film on absorptive surfaces. These findings suggest that nonabsorptive surfaces should be used in bioassays to monitor insecticide resistance. If absorptive surfaces are used in bioassays for testing active ingredients, then oil-based insecticides should be preferably used.”

Liu, F., X. Xia, and N. Liu. 2017. Molecular basis of N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) in repelling the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius. Frontiers in Physiology. 8. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00418

“As the most extensively used chemical repellent, N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) displayed repellency to a wide range of insects, including the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius. While the neuronal or molecular basis involved in DEET’s repellency have been majorly focused on mosquitos and fruit flies, DEET’s repellency to the common bed bug is largely unreached. To gain new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms in DEET’s repellency to the common bed bug, we characterized the neuronal response of bed bugs to DEET, identified the olfactory receptors targeted by DEET and demonstrated the interfering effect of DEET on bed bug’s responses to human odorants. High doses of DEET were required for activating the olfactory receptor neurons in the sensilla of bed bugs and at least three DEET-sensitive receptors were functionally deciphered. These DEET-sensitive receptors presented even more sensitive to certain botanical terpenes/terpenoids which also displayed repellency at varying levels for bed bugs. In addition, DEET produced a blocking effect on the neuronal responses of bed bugs to specific human odors and showed inhibitory effect on the function of odorant receptors in responding to certain human odors. Taken together, our results indicate that DEET may function as a stimulus that triggers avoidance behaviors and a molecular “confusant” for interrupting the host odor recognition in the odorant receptors of bed bugs. The receptors that coincidently responded to both synthetic DEET and botanical terpenes/terpenoids suggested that DEET probably target on receptors that originally responded to terpenes/terpenoids. This study gave novel insight into the mechanisms of DEET’s repellency to bed bugs and also provided valuable information for developing new reagents for bed bug control.”

Loudon, C. 2017. Rapid killing of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) on surfaces using heat: application to luggage: Rapid killing of bed bugs on surfaces using heat. Pest Management Science. 73: 64–70. doi: 10.1002/ps.4409

“The resistance of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) to chemical insecticides has motivated the development of non-chemical control methods such as heat treatment. However, because bed bugs tend to hide in cracks or crevices, their behavior incidentally generates a thermally insulated microenvironment for themselves. Bed bugs located on the outer surface of luggage are less insulated and potentially more vulnerable to brief heat treatment. Soft-sided suitcases with adult male bed bugs on the outside were exposed to an air temperature of 70–75 °C [158-167°F]. It took 6 min to kill all of the bed bugs, even those that had concealed themselves under zipper flaps or decorative piping. During heating, only one bed bug (out of 250 in total) moved into the luggage (through a closed zipper). Over long periods of time (24 h) at room temperature, adult male bed bugs on the exterior of luggage only infrequently moved inside; only 3% (5/170) had moved inside during 24 h. Brief exterior heat treatment of luggage is a promising way to reduce the spread of bed bugs being transported on the outer surface of luggage. This treatment will not kill bed bugs inside the luggage, but could be a component of integrated management for this pest.”

Matos, Y. K., A. Sierras, and C. Schal. 2017. Evaluation of the potential for secondary kill for ingested insecticides in the common bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 110: 1218–1225. doi: 10.1093/jee/tox082

“Baits are a preferred method of urban pest management. Baits enable more targeted insecticide applications with a fraction of the active ingredient used in residual sprays. Bait translocation by foragers, and consequent secondary kill of nonforagers, enhances bait effectiveness in social insects, and in other group-living species like German cockroaches (Blattella germanica L.). We investigated the potential for secondary kill in bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.), another gregarious species, using a liquid bait. We first investigated whether blood-fed adults enhance nymph survivorship within aggregations by increasing the local relative humidity (RH) and providing fecal nutrients. Higher RH (50% and 95%) resulted in greater survivorship of first instars compared with 0% RH. Therefore, in subsequent experiments, we controlled RH to decouple its effect on nymph survivorship from effects of fecal nutrients. The presence of fed or unfed adults did not increase unfed first instar survivorship, suggesting that if nymphs ingested feces, its nutritional benefits were minimal. Nymph survivorship was unaffected by the presence of adult males fed fipronil or clothianidin, suggesting that unlike in cockroaches, highly effective insecticides might not be effective as secondary kill toxicants in bed bugs. To directly compare secondary kill in first-instar bed bugs and B. germanica, we exposed both to insecticide-laden adult B. germanica feces. Whereas first-instar B. germanica died in the presence of insecticide-laden feces, bed bugs did not. We, therefore, conclude that secondary kill with neuroactive insecticides will likely not be a significant factor in bed bug population suppression.”

Politi, F., A. Silva, M. Furlan, J. Nascimento, I. Moro, R. Pietro, M. Garcia, R. Guido, and A. Godinho. 2017. Insecticidal activity of an essential oil of Tagetes patula L. (Asteraceae) on common bed bug Cimex lectularius L. and molecular docking of major compounds at the catalytic site of ClAChE1. Parasitology Research. 116: 415–424. doi: 10.1007/s00436-016-5305-x

“Emerging resistance to insecticides has influenced pharmaceutical research and the search for alternatives to control the common bed bug Cimex lectularius. In this sense, natural products can play a major role. Tagetes patula, popularly known as dwarf marigold, is a plant native to North America with biocide potential. The aim of this work was to evaluate the biological activity of T. patula essential oil (EO) against adult common bed bugs via exposure to dry residues by the Impregnated Paper Disk Test (IPDT) using cypermethrin as a positive control. We selected the enzyme acetylcholinesterase as a target for modeling studies, with the intent of investigating the molecular basis of any biological activity of the EO. Chemical analysis of the EO was performed using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Additionally, oral and dermal acute toxicity tests were performed according to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines. The sulforhodamine B assay (SRB) was performed to verify the cytotoxicity of EO to HaCaT cells. The EO eliminated 100 % of the bed bugs at 100 mg mL−1 with an LC50 value of 15.85 mg mL−1. GC-MS analysis identified α-terpinolene, limonene, piperitenone, and piperitone as major components of the mixture. Molecular modeling studies of these major compounds suggested that they are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors with good steric and electronic complementarity. The in vitro cytotoxicity evaluation revealed a LC50 = 37.06 μg mL−1 and in vivo acute toxicity showed an LC50 >4000 mg kg−1, indicating that the EO presents low risk of toxic side effects in humans. The T. patula essential oil components provide a promising strategy for controlling bed bug populations with low mammalian toxicity. These findings pave the way for further in vivo studies aimed at developing a safe and effective insecticide.”

Sheele, J. M., G. E. Ridge, W. Du, N. Mallipeddi, and M. Vallabhaneni. 2017. A screen of pharmaceutical drugs for their ability to cause short-term morbidity and mortality in the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. Parasitology Research. doi: 10.1007/s00436-017-5565-0

“The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., is a hematophagous ectoparasite that preferentially feeds on humans. Pharmaceuticals present in a person’s blood may adversely affect C. lectularius when it feeds. We fed >10,000 C. lectularius on blood samples containing more than 400 different drug doses and drug combinations using an in vitro feeding system to determine insect mortality. The majority of drug doses approximated the peak plasma concentration in humans taking those drugs. Twenty-one drugs were found to cause >17% 12–14-day mortality compared to 8.5% mortality in the control (p < 0.05), but postliminary testing of three of the drugs, famotidine, ethambutol, and primaquine, did not demonstrate an increase in C. lectularius mortality. We also tested 23 drugs for their effects on C. lectularius fecundity. The results may have implications for understanding C. lectularius population dynamics in an infestation.”

Sierras, A., and C. Schal. 2017. Comparison of ingestion and topical application of insecticides against the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae): Ingestible insecticides for bed bug control. Pest Management Science. 73: 521–527. doi: 10.1002/ps.4464

“The global prevalence of Cimex lectularius infestations has challenged current intervention efforts, as pyrethroid resistance has become ubiquitous, availability of labeled insecticides for bed bugs is limited, and non-chemical treatment options, such as heat, are often unaffordable. We evaluated representative insecticides toward the goal of developing a novel, ingestible liquid bait for hematophagous arthropods. LC50 values were estimated for adult males and first instar nymphs of an insecticide-susceptible strain for abamectin, clothianidin, fipronil and indoxacarb, after ingestion from an artificial feeder. LD50 values were calculated based on the ingested blood volume. Ingested abamectin, clothianidin and fipronil caused rapid mortality in both life stages. Fipronil was ∼43-fold more effective by ingestion than by topical application. Indoxacarb and its bioactive metabolite decarbomethoxylated JW062 (DCJW) were ineffective at causing bed bug mortality even at concentrations as high as 1000 ng mL−1 blood. Fipronil, clothianidin and abamectin have potential for being incorporated into a liquid bait for bed bug control; indoxacarb and DCJW were not effective. Bed bugs are a good candidate for an ingestible liquid bait because systemic formulations generally require less active ingredient than residual sprays, they remain contained and more effectively target hematophagous arthropods.”

Singh, N., C. Wang, C. Zha, R. Cooper, and M. Robson. 2017. Testing a threshold-based bed bug management approach in apartment buildings. Insects. 8: 76. doi: 10.3390/insects8030076

“We tested a threshold-based bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) management approach with the goal of achieving elimination with minimal or no insecticide application. Thirty-two bed bug infested apartments were identified. These apartments were divided into four treatment groups based on apartment size and initial bed bug count, obtained through a combination of visual inspection and bed bug monitors: I- Non-chemical only in apartments with 1–12 bed bug count, II- Chemical control only in apartments with 1–12 bed bug count, III- Non-chemical and chemical control in apartments with >12 bed bug count, and IV- Chemical control only in apartments with ≥11 bed bug count. All apartments were monitored or treated once every two weeks for a maximum of 28 wk. Treatment I eliminated bed bugs in a similar amount of time to treatment II. Time to eliminate bed bugs was similar between treatment III and IV but required significantly less insecticide spray in treatment III than that in treatment IV. A threshold-based management approach (non-chemical only or non-chemical and chemical) can eliminate bed bugs in a similar amount of time, using little to no pesticide compared to a chemical only approach.”

Zahran, Z., N. M. I. Mohamed Nor, H. Dieng, T. Satho, and A. H. Ab Majid. 2017. Laboratory efficacy of mycoparasitic fungi (Aspergillus tubingensis and Trichoderma harzianum) against tropical bed bugs (Cimex hemipterus) (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 7: 288–293. doi: 10.1016/j.apjtb.2016.12.021

“To test the effectiveness of conidial spore formulations [Aspergillus tubingensis (A. tubingensis) and Trichoderma harzianum (T. harzianum)] against tropical bed bugs, Cimex hemipterus. Spore formulations were made from two fungal strains, T. harzianum and A. tubingensis. The bed bugs were exposed to the conidial spores placed soaked onto a fabric cloth for 1 h and the mortality counts were recorded daily until 14 days. Mean survival times based on Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed no significant differences between all the concentrations in both the fungal isolates: T. harzianum and A. tubingensis. However, the evaluation of both the isolates in terms of virulence resulted in low lethal hours in all the concentrations except for the high concentration of A. tubingensis (LT50 = 44.629 h) at the conidial exposure of 1 × 106 spores/mL. Rapid mortality of the bed bugs was observed from Day 6 to Day 12, ranging from 13% to 90% in all three concentrations of A. tubingensis. With reference to the T. harzianum exposure, the concentration of 1 × 104 spores/mL displayed a gradual increase in the percentage mortality of 90 on Day 14. Approaches to the bed bugs treatment should be explored in-depth using a natural biological agent like fungus especially A. tubingensis to reduce this pest population, in order to replace chemical methods.”


Akhtar, Y., and M. B. Isman. 2016. Efficacy of diatomaceous earth and a DE-aerosol formulation against the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius Linnaeus in the laboratory. Journal of Pest Science. 89: 1013–1021. doi: 10.1007/s10340-015-0722-7

“We have investigated efficacy of a diatomaceous earth (DE) and an aerosol formulation thereof for contact and residual effects against the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. Efficacy of commercially available DE dust samples varied with the product. DX13TM and MotherEarth® dusts were significantly more effective than other DE dusts based on their lower lethal doses to kill 50 % of the insects, LD50 values (LD50s = 0.17 and 0.18 g m−2, respectively), in contact bioassays with adult bugs. DX13TM-aerosol demonstrated residual effect in both plastic box and the Petri dish methods. In large plastic boxes mortality of the bed bugs due to residual effect of the aerosol was 98 % at 24 h. The residual effect of DX13™-aerosol in Petri dishes persisted for 21 days. Time to kill 50 % of the insects, LT50 value, increased from 10.2 h for freshly applied DE dust to 46.1 h for dust aged for 21 days in Petri dishes. Mortality of the bed bugs in the Petri dishes was >97 % at 72 h, not only for fresh DX13™-aerosol residue, but also for residues aged up to 14 days. Mortality was 81 % at 72 h for DX13™-aerosol residue aged for 21 days. Mortality of bed bugs confined on a DX13™-incorporated mattress was 100 % at 48 and 72 h for bugs introduced on the mattress 3 and 32 weeks after manufacture, respectively. We also observed horizontal transfer of DX13™-dust between dead bugs collected from the DX13™-incorporated mattress to untreated ones. We discuss potential use of DX13™ for the management of bed bugs.”

Bennett, G. W., A. D. Gondhalekar, C. Wang, G. Buczkowski, and T. J. Gibb. 2016. Using research and education to implement practical bed bug control programs in multifamily housing. Pest Management Science. 72: 8–14. doi: 10.1002/ps.4084

“Multifamily housing facilities serving low-income populations have been at the forefront of bed bug outbreaks. Research conducted in the past 8 years has consistently proven that integrated pest management (IPM) is the best approach for successful suppression of bed bug infestations. Bed bug IPM in multifamily settings is especially dependent upon a collaborative community or building-wide effort involving residents, building staff and pest control technicians. Other components of a bed bug IPM program include regular monitoring to detect early-stage bed bug infestations and combined use of non-chemical and chemical interventions. Lastly, to reduce reinfestation rates and costs associated with bed bug control, it is critical to continue periodic monitoring and implement preventive control measures even after successful elimination of bed bugs has been achieved.”

Cooper, R., C. Wang, and N. Singh. 2016. Effects of various interventions, including mass trapping with passive pitfall traps, on low-level bed bug populations in apartments. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109: 762–769. doi: 10.1093/jee/tov337

“Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of various interventions on low-level bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., populations in occupied apartments. The first experiment was conducted in occupied apartments under three intervention conditions: never treated (Group I), recently treated with no further treatment (Group II), and recently treated with continued treatment (Group III). Each apartment was monitored with pitfall-style traps (interceptors) installed at beds and upholstered furniture (sleeping and resting areas) along with ∼18 additional interceptors throughout the apartment. The traps were inspected every 2 wk. After 22 wk, bed bugs had been eliminated (zero trap catch for eight consecutive weeks and none detected in visual inspections) in 96, 87, and 100% of the apartments in Groups I, II, and III, respectively. The second experiment investigated the impact of interceptors as a control measure in apartments with low-level infestations. In the treatment group, interceptors were continuously installed at and away from sleeping and resting areas and were inspected every 2 wk for 16 wk. In the control group, interceptors were placed in a similar fashion as the treatment group but were only placed during 6–8 and 14–16 wk to obtain bed bug counts. Bed bug counts were significantly lower at 8 wk in the treatment group than in the control group. At 16 wk, bed bugs were eliminated in 50% of the apartments in the treatment group. The implications of our results in the development of bed bug management strategies and monitoring protocols are discussed.”

Cooper, R. A., C. Wang, and N. Singh. 2016. Evaluation of a model community-wide bed bug management program in affordable housing. Pest Management Science. 72: 45–56. doi: 10.1002/ps.3982

“Low-income apartment communities in the United States are suffering from disproportionally high bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., infestations owing to lack of effective monitoring and treatment. Studies examining the effectiveness of integrated pest management (IPM) for the control of bed bugs in affordable housing have been limited to small subsets of bed-bug-infested apartments, rather than at the apartment community level. We developed, implemented and evaluated a complex-wide IPM program for bed bugs in an affordable housing community. Proactive inspections and biweekly treatments using a combination of non-chemical and chemical methods until bed bugs were not detected for three biweekly monitoring visits were key elements of the IPM program. A total of 55 bed-bug-infested apartments were identified during the initial inspection. Property management was unaware of 71% of these infestations. Over the next 12 months, 14 additional infested apartments were identified. The IPM program resulted in a 98% reduction in bed bug counts among treated apartments and reduced infestation rates from 15 to 2.2% after 12 months. Adopting a complex-wide bed bug IPM program, incorporating proactive monitoring, and biweekly treatments of infested apartments utilizing non-chemical and chemical methods can successfully reduce infestation rates to very low levels.”

Kells, S. A., and S. N. Hymel. 2016. The influence of time and distance traveled by bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, on permethrin uptake from treated mattress liners. Pest Management Science.  doi: 10.1002/ps.4294

BACKGROUND: Residual insecticides interrupt dispersal of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius, L.), but one of the issues encountered with residual applications is understanding the uptake of active residues by the insect. This study determined permethrin uptake by bed bugs walking on the ActiveGuard® Mattress Liner product, via a combination of video-recording in arenas and gas chromatography analyses.

RESULTS: The best model for estimating permethrin uptake utilized a covariance model (r2  = 0.469) with two factors: time of exposure (F1 ,55 =2.44, P < 0.001) and distance traveled (F1 ,55  = 0.30 P = 0.0460). Bed bug permethrin-uptake was 15.1 (95 % CI: 10.3 – 22.1) ng insect-1 within 1 min exposure; 21.0 (15.0, 31.0) ng insect-1 in 10 min; and, ≈42 (29.8, 60.6) ng insect-1 in ≥ 50 min exposure. Correcting for % recovery, these values would be would be increased by a factor of 1.21.

CONCLUSION: This permethrin-treated fabric provides a surface from which bed bugs begin to rapidly absorb permethrin on contact and within the first 1 cm of travel. Variability in uptake was likely a result of grooming and thigmotaxis, and future work should use quantitative methods to study behaviors and formulations that increase exposure to the toxicant.”

Hinson, K. R., E. P. Benson, P. A. Zungoli, W. C. Bridges, and B. R. Ellis. 2016. Egg hatch rate and nymphal survival of the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) after exposure to insecticide sprays. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109: 2495–2499. doi: 10.1093/jee/tow223

“Few studies have addressed the efficacy of insecticides used against eggs and first-instar nymphs of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Insect eggs are often resistant to insecticides; therefore, information on which products are effective is important. We evaluated the efficacy of four commonly used insecticide sprays applied directly to bed bug eggs. We also evaluated the efficacy of these insecticides to first-instar nymphs exposed to residuals resulting from directly spraying eggs. Temprid SC (beta-cyfluthrin, imidacloprid) was the most effective insecticide at preventing egg hatch (13% hatch rate) for pyrethroid-resistant, field-strain (Jersey City) bed bugs compared with a control (water [99% hatch rate]), Bedlam (MGK-264, sumithrin [84% hatch rate]), Demand CS (lambda-cyhalothrin [91% hatch rate]), and Phantom SC (chlorfenapyr [95% hatch rate]). Demand CS and Temprid SC were most effective at preventing egg hatch (0%) for an insecticide-susceptible (Harold Harlan) strain, followed by Bedlam (28%). Phantom SC produced a hatch rate similar to the control (97% and 96%, respectively). Harold Harlan-strain nymphs showed 100% survival for the control but 0% survival for Bedlam and Phantom SC. Jersey City-strain nymphs showed 100% survival for the control, 99% survival for Bedlam, 0% survival for Demand CS, 4% survival for Phantom SC, and 38% survival for Temprid SC. Demand CS was less effective at preventing hatch (91% hatch rate) of Jersey City-strain nymphs but was the only product to kill all nymphs (0% survival). One of the least effective products for preventing Jersey City-strain egg hatch (Phantom SC, 95% hatch rate) was the second most effective at killing nymphs, leaving only six of 141 alive. These findings indicate that survival of directly sprayed eggs and residually exposed, first-instar nymphs varies by strain, life stage, and product used.”

Liu, Y.-B., and K. F. Haynes. 2016. Effects of ultralow oxygen and vacuum treatments on bed bug (Heteroptera: Cimicidae) survival. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109: 1310–1316. doi: 10.1093/jee/tow034

“Control of bed bugs is problematic, balancing among efficacy, safety, and cost. In this study, ultralow oxygen (ULO) and vacuum treatments were tested on bed bugs to develop a safer, effective, and environmentally friendly solution to kill bed bugs on infested items. ULO treatments were established by flushing sealed enclosures with nitrogen. All life stages of bed bugs were found to be susceptible to ULO and vacuum treatments, and efficacy of the treatments increased with reduced oxygen levels, increased treatment time, and temperature. In the ULO treatments, 100% mortality of bed bug nymphs and adults and >98% mortality of bed bug eggs were achieved in the 8-h treatment under 0.1% O 2 atmosphere at 30°C [86°F]. Different levels of vacuum that yielded different oxygen levels were tested on all life stages of bed bugs. The susceptibility of different stages to vacuum treatments increased from nymphs to adults to eggs. Complete control of all life stages was achieved in 12 h under −982 mbar (−29.0 ) vacuum at 30°C [86°F]. This study demonstrated that bed bugs were very susceptible to low oxygen stresses and ULO and vacuum treatments have potential to be used as effective and safe treatments to decontaminate bed bug-infested removable objects.”

Sheele, J. M., and G. E. Ridge. 2016. Toxicity and potential utility of ivermectin and moxidectin as xenointoxicants against the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. Parasitology Research. 115: 3071–3081. doi: 10.1007/s00436-016-5062-x

“The recent resurgence of the common bed bug Cimex lectularius L. throughout western industrialized nations has been facilitated in part by the insect becoming pesticide-resistant. Novel control strategies, including xenointoxication, should be considered to combat C. lectularius. Ivermectin, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment for several human parasites, and the antiparasitic drug moxidectin, currently being explored in human clinical trials, were evaluated for efficacy against C. lectularius. Results showed that C. lectularius fed on ivermectin or moxidectin blood concentrations of >25 ng/mL and had significantly higher mortality (50–100%) than controls (0–6%) by day 13. Bed bugs that survived a blood meal containing >2.5 ng/mL of ivermectin suffered long-term sequelae including reduced fecundity, feeding difficulty, and incomplete ecdysis. Some insects that survived a blood meal containing ≤75 ng/mL moxidectin were able to feed and reproduce.”

Singh, N., C. Wang, and R. Cooper. 2016. Posttreatment feeding affects mortality of bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) exposed to insecticides. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109: 273–283. doi: 10.1093/jee/tov293

“Insecticide sprays and dusts are used for controlling bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. In natural environments, bed bugs have daily access to hosts after they are exposed to insecticides. The established laboratory insecticide bioassay protocols do not provide feeding after insecticide treatments, which can result in inflated mortality compared with what would be encountered in the field. We evaluated the effect of posttreatment feeding on mortality of bed bugs treated with different insecticides. None of the insecticides tested had a significant effect on the amount of blood consumed and percent feeding. The effect of posttreatment feeding on bed bug mortality varied among different insecticides. Feeding significantly reduced mortality in bed bugs exposed to deltamethrin spray, an essential oil mixture (Bed Bug Fix) spray, and diatomaceous earth dust. Feeding increased the mean survival time for bed bugs treated with chlorfenapyr spray and a spray containing an essential oil mixture (Ecoraider), but did not affect the final mortality. First instars hatched from eggs treated with chlorfenapyr liquid spray had reduced feeding compared with nymphs hatched from nontreated eggs. Those nymphs hatched from eggs treated with chlorfenapyr liquid spray and successfully fed had reduced mortality and a higher mean survival time than those without feeding. We conclude that the availability of a bloodmeal after insecticide exposure has a significant effect on bed bug mortality. Protocols for insecticide efficacy testing should consider offering a bloodmeal to the treated bed bugs within 1 to 3 d after treatment.”

Singh, N., C. Wang, D. Wang, R. Cooper, and C. Zha. 2016. Comparative efficacy of selected dust insecticides for controlling Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 109: 1819–1826. doi: 10.1093/jee/tow129

“Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L., are one of the most difficult urban pests to control. Pest management professionals rely heavily on insecticide sprays and dusts to control bed bugs. Dust formulations are considered to provide longer residual control than sprays. However, there are no scientific data available on the comparative efficacy of the commonly used insecticide dusts. We evaluated the efficacy of eight insecticide dust products using three exposure methods: 1) brief exposure—bed bugs crossed a 2.54-cm-wide dust-treated band, 2) forced exposure—bed bugs were continuously exposed to a dust-treated substrate, and 3) choice exposure—bed bugs were given a choice to stay on either dust-treated or untreated substrate. The brief exposure method was the most sensitive in detecting the differences among the insecticides. Only CimeXa (silica gel) dust caused 100% mortality from all three exposure methods. Other tested dusts (1% cyfluthrin, 0.05% deltamethrin, 0.075% zeta-cypermethrin + 0.15% piperonyl butoxide, 1% pyrethrins, 1% 2-phenethyl propionate + 0.4% pyrethrin, 0.25% dinotefuran + 95% diatomaceous earth, 100% diatomaceous earth) caused ≤65% mortality in a brief exposure assay. We also evaluated the horizontal transfer effect of the silica gel dust. Silica gel dust-exposed bed bugs transferred the dust horizontally to unexposed bed bugs resulting in 100% mortality at 4:6 donor: recipient ratio and 88.0 ± 5.0% mortality at 1:5 donor: recipient ratio. The results suggest silica gel is the most promising insecticide dust for controlling C. lectularius.”

Totten, V., H. Charbonneau, W. Hoch, S. Shah, and J. M. Sheele. 2016. The cost of decontaminating an ED after finding a bed bug: results from a single academic medical center. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 34: 649. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2015.12.020

“Letter to the Editor: The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L, is a resurgent problem in industrialized nations, including the United States. The US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program showed that emergency department (ED) visits related to bed bugs rose from 2,156 in 2007 to 15,945 in 2010, a 7-fold increase in 3 years. In 2013, Orkin Inc. listed the Cleveland/Akron/Canton area as the 13th most bed bug-infested city in the United States. Terminix, another large pest management company, estimated that between 2012 and 2013, bed bug infestations rose 36% in the Cleveland area. There have been few published epidemiologic investigations of bed bugs in hospitals and no reports on the costs of bed bugs in the ED. The objective of this study was to identify the financial burden of bed bugs in our ED.”

Wang, C., N. Singh, C. Zha, and R. Cooper. 2016. Bed bugs: prevalence in low-income communities, resident’s reactions, and implementation of a low-cost inspection protocol. Journal of Medical Entomology. 53: 639–646. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjw018

“We examined bed bug prevalence in 2,372 low-income apartments within 43 buildings in four New Jersey cities using a combination of resident interviews, brief visual inspections, and monitoring with Climbup Insect Interceptors. Infestation rates ranged from 3.8 to 29.5% among the buildings, with an overall infestation rate of 12.3%. Within each apartment, the bed area trapped significantly more bed bugs per trap than the sofa (or upholstered chair) area. African American residents had a proportionally higher number of bed bug infestations than white residents. Women were more likely to report bed bug bite symptoms than men. Only 68% of the residents who experienced bed bug infestations reported symptoms after being bitten (n = 475). Among those with self-reported symptoms (n = 319), the frequency of the reported symptoms was: pain 90%, itchiness 20%, welts 13%, and insomnia 8%. Fifty-nine percent of the residents (n = 539) who experienced bed bug infestations applied insecticides to control bed bugs. Climbup interceptors detected 89 ± 1% and brief visual inspections detected 72 ± 3% of the infestations. Only two out of 291 infestations were not detected by brief visual inspection or interceptors. Assuming US$50 per hour labor rate, the average per apartment cost for the building-wide bed bug monitoring protocol was US$12 per apartment. Forty-nine percent of the infestations detected by the protocol were in apartments whose residents were unaware of the bed bug activity.”

Wang, C., N. Singh., C. Zha, and R. Cooper.2016. Efficacy of selected insecticide sprays and aerosols against the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Insects. 7(1):5. doi: 10.3390/insects7010005

“We evaluated the residual efficacy of four liquid sprays and four ready-to-use aerosols that are commonly used in the U.S. against a field-collected bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., strain with moderate resistance level to pyrethroids. The four liquid sprays were: Tandem (0.1% thiamethoxam, 0.03% lambda-cyhalothrin), Temprid SC (0.05% imidacloprid, 0.025% cyfluthrin), Transport GHP (0.05% acetamiprid, 0.06% bifenthrin), and Demand CS (0.03% lambda-cyhalothrin). The four aerosols were: Alpine (0.5% dinotefuran), Bedlam (0.4% sumithrin, 1.6% MGK 264), Bedlam Plus (0.4% sumithrin, 1% MGK 264, 0.05% imidacloprid), and Phantom (0.5% chlorfenapyr). Bed bugs were confined for 4 h to treated substrates (aged 24 h). Four substrates were tested: fabric, unpainted wood, painted wood, and vinyl. Bedlam, Demand CS, and Temprid SC resulted in ≤70% mortality on all tested substrates. Among the other five products, substrate type significantly affected their residual efficacy, except for Transport GHP, which caused ≥89.7% mortality regardless of the substrate. The effect of exposure time (5 min, 4 h, and 24 h) on the efficacy of Transport GHP and Phantom aerosol also was evaluated. A 4 h continuous exposure to Phantom aerosol or Transport GHP residue caused similar mortality to 24 h exposure and higher mortality than 5 min exposure.”


Feldlaufer, M. F., and K. R. Ulrich. 2015. Essential oils as fumigants for bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 50: 129–137. doi: 10.18474/JES14-27.1

“Certain plant-derived essential oils are classified as ‘minimum risk’ pesticides that require no registration with the Environmental Protection Agency and, therefore, have become attractive in formulations of pest-control products. In Petri dish assays, fumigation of a pyrethroid-susceptible strain of bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), with various essential oils results in mortality that approaches or equals 100% after 5 d. However, when bed bugs were exposed to the same essential oils in sealed, commercial trash bags for 5 d, only rosemary oil killed greater than 99% of the bed bugs. These results are compared with a commercial product that contains cold-pressed neem oil that killed 100% of the exposed bed bugs in both the Petri dish and trash bag studies.”

Hottel, B. A., R. M. Pereira and P. G. Koehler. 2015. The influence of roughness and pyrethroid formulations on bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) resting preferences. Insects. 6: 455-463. doi:10.3390/insects6020455

“Two-choice tests were conducted to examine the effect of surface roughness on the resting preference of bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L., on copper, basswood, and acrylic materials. The influence of pyrethroid formulation applications on resting preferences was also evaluated. Bed bugs were given the choice of resting between two sanded halves of each material tested. One half was sanded with a P60 grit sandpaper and the other with a less rough P600 grit sandpaper. A significantly higher proportion of bed bugs chose to rest on the rougher P60 grit sanded half of all materials tested. Pyrethroid applications were made to either the P60 grit half or both halves of acrylic arenas and resting preferences were again assessed. Behavioral responses of bed bugs to pyrethroid formulation applications varied depending on the bed bug strain used and the formulation applied. Bed bugs would still rest on the P60 grit half when Suspend SC formulation (0.06% deltamethrin) was applied; however, an avoidance response was observed from a bed bug strain susceptible to D-Force aerosol formulations (0.06% deltamethrin). The avoidance behavior is likely attributed to one, more than one, or even an interaction of multiple spray constituents and not the active ingredient.”

Jones, S. C., J. L. Bryant, and F. S. Sivakoff. 2015. Sublethal effects of ActiveGuard exposure on feeding behavior and fecundity of the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology. 52: 413-418. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjv008

“Sublethal exposure to pesticides can alter insect behavior with potential for population-level consequences. We investigated sublethal effects of ActiveGuard, a permethrin-impregnated fabric, on feeding behavior and fecundity of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) from five populations that ranged from susceptible to highly pyrethroid resistant. After exposure to ActiveGuard fabric or untreated fabric for 1 or 10 minutes, adult virgin female bed bugs were individually observed while offered a blood meal to determine feeding attempts and weight gain.  Because bed bug feeding behavior is tightly coupled with its fecundity, all females then were mated, and the number of eggs laid and egg hatch rate were used as fecundity measures. We observed that pyrethroid resistant and susceptible bugs were not significantly different for all feeding and fecundity parameters. Bed bugs exposed to ActiveGuard for 10 min were significantly less likely to attempt to feed or successfully feed and their average blood meal size was significantly smaller compared with individuals in all other groups. Independent of whether or not feeding occurred, females exposed to ActiveGuard for 10 minutes were significantly more likely to lay no eggs.  Only a single female exposed to ActiveGuard for 10 min laid any eggs. Among the other fabric treatment–exposure time groups, there were no observable differences in egg numbers or hatch rates.  Brief exposure of 10 min to ActiveGuard fabric appeared to decrease feeding and fecundity of pyrethroid-resistant and susceptible bed bugs, suggesting the potentially important role of sublethal exposure for the control of this ectoparasitic insect.”

Rukke, B. A., A. Aak, and K. S. Edgar. 2015. Mortality, temporary sterilization, and maternal effects of sublethal heat in bed bugs. PLoS One. 10: e0127555. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127555

“Adult bed bugs were exposed to the sublethal temperatures 34.0°C, 35.5°C, 37.0°C, 38.5°C, or 40.0°C for 3, 6, or 9 days. The two uppermost temperatures induced 100% mortality within 9 and 2 days, respectively, whereas 34.0°C had no observable effect. The intermediate temperatures interacted with time to induce a limited level of mortality but had distinct effects on fecundity, reflected by decreases in the number of eggs produced and hatching success. Adult fecundity remained low for up to 40 days after heat exposure, and the time until fertility was restored correlated with the temperature-sum experienced during heat exposure. Three or 6 days of parental exposure to 38.5°C significantly lowered their offspring’s feeding and moulting ability, which consequently led to a failure to continue beyond the third instar. Eggs that were deposited at 22.0°C before being exposed to 37.0°C for 3 or 6 days died, whereas eggs that were exposed to lower temperatures were not significantly affected. Eggs that were deposited during heat treatment exhibited high levels of mortality also at 34.0°C and 35.5°C. The observed negative effects of temperatures between 34.0°C and 40.0°C may be utilized in pest management, and sublethal temperature exposure ought to be further investigated as an additional tool to decimate or potentially eradicate bed bug populations. The effect of parental heat exposure on progeny demonstrates the importance of including maternal considerations when studying bed bug environmental stress reactions.”

Singh, N., C. Wang, and R. Cooper. 2015. Posttreatment feeding affects mortality of bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) exposed to insecticides. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109(1):273-283. doi: 10.1093/jee/tov293

“Insecticide sprays and dusts are used for controlling bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. In natural environments, bed bugs have daily access to hosts after they are exposed to insecticides. The established laboratory insecticide bioassay protocols do not provide feeding after insecticide treatments, which can result in inflated mortality compared with what would be encountered in the field. We evaluated the effect of posttreatment feeding on mortality of bed bugs treated with different insecticides. None of the insecticides tested had a significant effect on the amount of blood consumed and percent feeding. The effect of posttreatment feeding on bed bug mortality varied among different insecticides. Feeding significantly reduced mortality in bed bugs exposed to deltamethrin spray, an essential oil mixture (Bed Bug Fix) spray, and diatomaceous earth dust. Feeding increased the mean survival time for bed bugs treated with chlorfenapyr spray and a spray containing an essential oil mixture (Ecoraider), but did not affect the final mortality. First instars hatched from eggs treated with chlorfenapyr liquid spray had reduced feeding compared with nymphs hatched from nontreated eggs. Those nymphs hatched from eggs treated with chlorfenapyr liquid spray and successfully fed had reduced mortality and a higher mean survival time than those without feeding. We conclude that the availability of a bloodmeal after insecticide exposure has a significant effect on bed bug mortality. Protocols for insecticide efficacy testing should consider offering a bloodmeal to the treated bed bugs within 1 to 3 d after treatment.”

Wang, C., N. Singh, R. and Cooper. 2015. Field study of the comparative efficacy of three pyrethroid/neonicotinoid mixture products for the control of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius. Insects. 6: 197–205. doi: 10.3390/insects6010197

“Three insecticide mixtures that contain two classes of insecticides (pyrethroid and neonicotinoid) were recently developed to control bed bugs. We evaluated three integrated bed bug management strategies in apartments, each using the same non-chemical control methods and one of the three insecticide mixture products: Tandem (lambda-cyhalothrin + thiamethoxam), Temprid SC (beta-cyfluthrin + imidacloprid), and Transport Mikron (bifenthrin + acetamiprid). No insecticides were applied in the Control apartments. In all apartments, we installed vinyl mattress encasements (if not already present) and applied steam to beds and other infested upholstered furniture. Insecticide sprays were applied in the three treatments. Each treatment and the Control included 8–10 occupied apartments. Re-treatment was conducted during biweekly inspections if necessary. After eight weeks, the mean (± SEM) bed bug count reduction in the Tandem, Temprid SC, Transport Mikron, and Control was 89 ± 9, 87 ± 6, 98 ± 1, and 23 ± 54%, respectively. Only Tandem and Transport Mikron treatments resulted in significantly higher population reduction than the Control at eight weeks. There were no significant differences in mean percent reduction among the three treatments (Tandem, Temprid SC, Transport Mikron) at eight weeks. Tandem spray caused significantly faster bed bug reduction than Temprid SC spray and Transport Mikron spray.”


Phillips, T. W., M. J. Aikins, E. Thoms, J. Demark, and C. Wang. 2014. Fumigation of bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae): effective application rates for sulfuryl fluoride. Journal of Economic Entomology. 107: 1582–1589. doi: 10.1603/EC13471

“The bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), has resurged recently as a domestic pest in North America with very limited options for decisive control. We report efficacy studies with sulfuryl fluoride (SF) toward use as a structural fumigant to control bed bugs. Laboratory studies were conducted in which eggs, adults, and nymphs from a pesticide susceptible laboratory population were fumigated for 24 h using SF at 99.8% purity in airtight, 3.8-liter glass containers under two temperatures, 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) and 15 degrees C (59 degrees F). Bed bugs were placed in separate ventilated glass vials and wrapped in mattress padding before fumigation. The gas concentration within each jar was determined using quantitative gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Dose-response trials using eggs of known age (48-96 h) were conducted at five or six target concentrations measured as concentration x time accumulated dosages (g-h/m3) and one untreated control at each temperature. Each target dose was replicated in four different fumigation containers (replicates), with at least 32 eggs per replicate. The number of hatched and unhatched eggs post-fumigation, and number of live and dead nymphs that resulted from hatched eggs, were evaluated daily for at least 1 wk after egg hatch. The lethal accumulated dosage (LAD99) for bed bug eggs was 69.1 (95% fiducial limits [FLs] of 62.9-79.5) g-h/m3 at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) and 149.3 (95% FLs of 134.4-177.9) g-h/m3 at 15 degrees C (59 degrees F). Confirmatory trials with dosages of 1.5x the LAD99 were conducted at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) and 1.5x the threshold mortality dose at 15 degrees C (59 degrees F) with at least 15 adults, 13 late-instar nymphs and 79 eggs of known age per replicate. At 25 degrees C (77 degrees F), a target dosage of 103.7 g-h/m3 resulted in 100% mortality of adults and late-instar nymphs. Nymphs emerged and survived from two of 439 eggs treated with SF dosages that were 6-7 g-h/m3 less than the target dosage. No nymphs emerged from eggs fumigated with dosages > 97.9 g-h/m3 in the validation study. Therefore, the threshold dosage for complete egg mortality (97.9 g-h/m3) was used, rather than the LAD99, to calculate the monitored field dosage rate of 148.2 g-h/m3 (= 1.5 x 97.9 g-h/m3) for control of all life stages of bed bugs at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) . Based on these results, at 15 degrees C (59 degrees F), 1.5x the threshold dosage for complete egg control (189.7 g-h/m3) was used to calculate a target dosage of 285 g-h/m3 for the confirmatory trial, which resulted in 100% mortality of adults, late-instar nymphs, and eggs.”

Singh, N., C. Wang, and R. Cooper. 2014. Efficacy of an essential oil-based pesticide for controlling bed bug (Cimex lectularius) infestations in apartment buildings. Insects. 5(4):849-859. doi: 10.3390/insects

“Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L. and Cimex hemipterus F.) are among the most difficult urban pests to manage. Many essential oil-based bed bug control products that are considered reduced risk to mammals compared to synthetic insect neurotoxins have become commercially available, but their effectiveness as a stand-alone control method is unknown. This study assessed the field efficacy of an essential oil-based bed bug control product (EcoRaider; a.i. 1% geraniol + 1% cedar oil + 2% sodium lauryl sulfate) compared to a pyrethroid and neonicotinoid mixture spray (0.075% Temprid SC; a.i. beta-cyfluthrin + imidacloprid). After 12 weeks, the three treatments-EcoRaider, Temprid SC, and EcoRaider + Temprid SC caused 92.5 ± 2.7, 92.9 ± 3.0, and 91.7% ± 2.7% bed bug count reduction, respectively. No significant differences existed in the bed bug reduction among the treatments. Bed bugs were eliminated from only 22% of the treated apartments. Among those still with bed bugs, 76% of the residents did not know bed bugs were present. We documented the residents’ self-control practices and discussed the potential of using essential oil-based insecticides in bed bug management programs to minimize the health risks to building occupants and pets and to slow down the development of insecticide resistance.”


Goddard, J. 2013. Laboratory assays of various insecticides against bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) and their eggs. Journal of Entomological Science. 48(1): 65-69. doi: 10.18474/0749-8004-48.1.65

“This study was undertaken to examine effectiveness of several commercially available insecticides against a field population of the common bed bug, C. lectularius L.”

Puckett, R. T., D. L. McDonald, and R. E. Gold. 2013. Comparison of multiple steam treatment durations for control of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.). Pest Management Science. 69: 1061–1065. doi: 10.1002/ps.3467

“The work reported herein was designed to refine our understanding of the duration of bed bug/steam contact necessary to affect mortality of bed bugs in laboratory trials. Beg bug eggs, nymphs and adults were exposed to three steam treatment exposure periods in these trials. Mean percentage mortality of bed bug eggs was 100% (regardless of duration of exposure), and that of nymphs and adults ranged from 88.0 to 94.0%. Survivorship of nymphs and adults in the trials was the result of experimental protocol restrictions that would not usually be associated with actual pest management efforts. The treatment equipment used in these trials is portable and relatively inexpensive and represents a non-chemical means of killing all life stages of bed bugs. While this method would likely be seen as an inefficient means of remediating a mature bed bug infestation within a structure, it does represent a practical component of integrated management of this pest insect.”

Wang, C., N. Singh, R. Cooper, C. Liu, and G. Buczkowski2013. Evaluation of an insecticide dust band treatment method for controlling bed bugs. Journal of Economic Entomology. 106: 347–352. doi: 10.1603/EC12259

Researchers designed and evaluated a dust band treatment technique, which consisted of Tempo dust (1% cyfluthrin) brushed onto 3.8-cm-wide fabric bands installed on furniture legs.  Laboratory results demonstrated that the dust bands were effective in killing bed bugs.  This technique was further evaluated in bed bug infested apartments as part of a treatment program that also included bed bug interceptors installed under furniture legs and Alpine aerosol spray (0.5% dinotefuran) applied directly to live bed bugs found on furniture during biweekly inspections. The aforementioned treatment was compared with two other treatments: integrated pest management (IPM) and control. The IPM treatment included dust bands plus hot steam applied to infested furniture and surrounding areas, mattress encasements, 1% cyfluthrin dust applied around room perimeters, and interceptors installed under furniture legs. In addition, Alpine aerosol was applied to live bed bugs found during biweekly inspections. In the control group, the apartments received cursory treatment with insecticide sprays by the existing pest control contractor hired by property management. From 0 to 12 wk, average bed bug counts decreased by 95% in the dust band+interceptors+Alpine spray treatment as compared to 92% decrease in the IPM treatment, and 85% decrease in the control group. There was no significant difference in the final bed bug counts for the dust band+interceptors+Alpine spray treatment and the IPM treatments. An additional field experiment showed that installing 1% cyfluthrin dust band and interceptors in lightly infested apartments prevented the rebound of bed bug populations.


Goddard, J., G. Baker, F. Ferrari, and C. Ferrari. 2012. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and bat bugs (several Cimex species): a confusing issue. 23(3):125-127. Outlooks on Pest Management. doi: 10.1564/23jun09

“Currently, bed bugs are one of the most pressing “vector” issues in pest control and environmental health, with increasing reports of the blood-sucking pest being reported in hotels, apartments, and single-family dwellings. Negative health effects from their bites include emotional distress (anxiety, insomnia, and perhaps even posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms), nuisance bites and their associated cutaneous reactions, anemia, and potential disease transmission. Although bed bugs have been found naturally infected with a variety of disease agents, they have not been conclusively proven to transmit these organisms. Pest management professionals and environmental health specialists are on the front line of the bed bug battle, often being asked to investigate cases in private homes and apartments, as well as in public places such as hotels, hospitals, and schools. Compounding the issue is the fact that bat bugs may infest these places as well, especially if there are bats roosting in them (Usinger 1966). Bat bugs such as Cimex pipistrelli (Europe), Cimex pilosellus (western US), and Cimex adjunctus (entire eastern US) may sometimes bite people visiting or residing near the nesting or roosting sites of these species. Treatment/eradication strategies for bat bugs differ from that of bed bugs, and mainly involve solving the bat problem (not lethally, but by exclusion). Although bat bugs may occasionally bite humans, the bugs are not well-adapted to feeding on people. Bat bugs appear macroscopically identical to bed bugs, but closer examination can reveal differences. This article compares and contrasts identification of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, and the commonly-encountered bat bug, Cimex adjunctus, and provides comments on treatment and control of each.”

Jones, S. C., J. L. Bryant, and S. A. Harrison2013. Behavioral responses of the bed bug to permethrin-impregnated ActiveGuardTM fabric. Insects. 4: 230–240. doi:10.3390/insects4020230

“ActiveGuard Mattress Liners have been used to control house dust mites, and they also are commercially available as an integrated pest management tool for use against bed bugs (Cimex lectularius). The aim of our study was to evaluate responses of numerous populations of the bed bug to the permethrin-impregnated fabric, with particular regard to contact toxicity, repellency, and feeding inhibition. Continuous exposure to ActiveGuard fabric resulted in rapid intoxication for three of four populations, with 87 to 100% of moderately pyrethroid-resistant and susceptible bed bugs succumbing by 1 d. In comparison, a highly resistant population reached 22% mortality at 10 d. Video data revealed that bed bugs readily traversed ActiveGuard fabric and spent a considerable amount of time moving about and resting on it during a 12 h period. ActiveGuard fabric was non-repellent to bed bugs from five tested populations. Furthermore, significantly fewer bed bugs successfully fed to repletion through ActiveGuard fabric than through blank fabric for the five populations. With just 30 min of feeding exposure, mortality ranged from 4% to 83%, depending upon the bed bug strain. These laboratory studies indicate that ActiveGuard liners adversely affected bed bugs from diverse populations.”

Jones, S. C., and J. L. Bryant. 2012. Ineffectiveness of over-the-counter total-release foggers against the bed bug (Heteroptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 105: 957–963. doi: 10.1603/EC12037

Three commercially available total-release foggers (‘bug bombs’ or ‘foggers’) killed very few bed bugs from field collected bed bug populations. These scientific data support the position that bug bombs should not be recommended for control of bed bugs, because (1) many field-collected bed bugs are resistant to pyrethroids, (2) many bed bugs are not affected by brief exposure to low concentrations of pyrethrins and/or pyrethroids provided by the products; and (3) there is minimal, if any, insecticide penetration into typical bed bug hiding places.

Wang, C, L. Lü, and M. Xu. 2012. Carbon dioxide fumigation for controlling bed bugs. Journal of Medical Entomology. 49(5):1076-1083. doi: 10.1603/ME12037

“We investigated the potential of carbon dioxide (CO2) fumigation as a method for controlling bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. The effect of bed bug developmental stage, temperature, and CO2 concentration on the minimum time to kill 100% of bed bugs was determined. The minimum CO2 concentration lethal to all bed bug stages was approximately 30% with 24 h exposure time at 25 degrees C. The minimum fumigation time required to kill 100% of eggs using 100% CO2 at 20, 25, and 30 degrees C were 3, 7, and 8 h, respectively; the minimum fumigation time to kill 100% of adult males/nymphs were 8, 13, and 14 h, respectively. The minimum time to kill 100% of adult males/nymphs using 50 and 70% CO2 at 25 degrees C were 18 and 16 h, respectively. We found that eggs were not completely killed after 24 h fumigation when the CO2 concentration was lower than 80%. Thus, bed bug eggs were more susceptible to 100% CO2 fumigation than nymphs and adult males but more tolerant than nymphs and adult males with lower CO2 concentration (50-80%). There were no significant differences among nymphs, adult males, and adult females in their susceptibility to 100% CO2 fumigation. A 24 h fumigation in sealed 158 liter (42 gallon) heavy duty garbage bags filled 90% full with fabric materials and/or boxes and 1,350 g dry ice per bag was sufficient to kill all stages of bed bugs hidden in the materials at room temperature (23-24 degrees C). Sealed heavy duty garbage bags maintained > or = 94% CO2 for at least 24 h. Custom-made double zipper plastic bags (122 x 183 cm) were also used to evaluate the effectiveness of CO2 fumigation for controlling bed bugs. Each bag was filled with fabric and boxes to 50-90% full. Bed bugs were hidden in various locations of each bag. CO2 was introduced into the bags through a CO2 cylinder. CO2 fumigation lasting 24-48 h was sufficient to kill all stages of bed bugs at room temperature, depending on the quantity of materials placed in each bag and whether CO2 was introduced one or two times at the onset. CO2 is an effective alternative to conventional fumigants for eliminating bed bugs hiding in infested household items such as clothing, shoes, books, electronics, sofas, and so forth.”

Wang, C., K. Saltzmann, G. Bennett and T. Gibb. 2012. Comparison of three bed bug management strategies in a low-income apartment building. Insects. 3(2):402-409. doi: 10.3390/insects3020402

“Bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) infestations are currently controlled by a variety of non-chemical and chemical methods. There have been few studies on the comparative effectiveness of these control techniques. We evaluated three bed bug management strategies in an apartment building: (1) non-chemical methods only (n = 9); (2) insecticides only (n = 6); and (3) integrated pest management including both non-chemical methods and insecticides (n = 9). The apartments were one-bedroom units occupied by seniors or people with disabilities. Bed bug numbers in each apartment were determined by visual inspection and/or installing intercepting devices under bed and sofa legs. The median (min, max) bed bug counts in the non-chemical methods only, insecticides only, and integrated pest management (IPM) treatment were: 4 (1, 57), 19 (1, 250), and 14 (1, 219), respectively prior to the treatments. The apartments were retreated if found necessary during biweekly to monthly inspections. After 10 weeks, bed bugs were found to be eliminated from 67, 33, and 44% of the apartments in the three treatment groups, respectively. The final (after 10 weeks) median (min, max) bed bug counts in the non-chemical methods only, insecticides only, and IPM treatment were: 0 (0, 134), 11.5 (0, 58), and 1 (0, 38), respectively. There were no significant differences in the speed of bed bug count reduction or the final bed bug counts. Lack of resident cooperation partially contributed to the failure in eliminating bed bugs from some of the apartments. Results of this study suggest that non-chemical methods can effectively eliminate bed bugs in lightly infested apartments.”

Yturralde, K. M., and R. W. Hofstetter. 2012. Efficacy of commercially available ultrasonic pest repellent devices to affect behavior of bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 105: 2107–2114. doi: 10.1603/EC12166

Researchers studied whether sound could be used to deter or attract bed bugs. The four commercial devices producing sound were ineffective as attractants and repellents–bed bugs were equally likely to occur in arenas with or without sound produced by the ultrasonic devices. Commercial ultrasonic devices were not a promising tool for repelling bed bugs.


Ballard, J., P. Alley, D. Reeder, and J. Latino2011. Controlling bed bugs in transient housing facilities. Pest Control Technology. 39: 82–87.

An integrated pest management demonstration project was conducted in transient housing facilities using multiple approaches including insecticide applications, visual and canine inspections, clutter reduction, and either mattress encasements or ActiveGuard Mattress Liners. The approach provided for successful bed bug control, but likely would not be feasible for housing authorities due to the high cost.

Doggett, S. L., C. J. Orton, D. G. Lilly, and R. C. Russell2011. Bed bugs: the Australian response. Insects. 2: 96–111. doi: 10.3390/insects2020096

A literature review focusing on the resurgence of two species of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus) in Australia and management practices. Australia implemented a multi-disciplinary strategy that included several key components including ‘A Code of Practice for the Control of Bed Bug Infestations in Australia‘ that defined and promoted best practice for bed bug eradication, development of a policy and procedural guide for accommodation providers, and education of stakeholders.

Kells, S. A., and M. J. Goblirsch2011. Temperature and time requirements for controlling bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) under commercial heat treatment conditions. Insects. 2: 412–422. doi: 10.3390/insects2030412

“The objective of these laboratory experiments was to explore requirements to produce maximum mortality of bed bugs from heat exposure using conditions characteristic of whole-room heat treatments. The lethal temperatures required for 99% mortality (LTemp99) of bed bug stages was determined. Higher temperatures were required to kill eggs (LTemp99 = 54.8 °C [130.64 °F]) than adults (LTemp99 = 48.3 °C [118.94 °F]).  When exposed to 45 °C (113 ºF), adult bed bugs had an LTime99 of 94.8 min, whereas eggs survived for 7 h. Eggs survived only 71.5 min at 48 °C (118.4 °F).”

Potter, M. F. 2011. The history of bed bug management- with lessons from the past. American Entomologist. 57: 14–25.

A literature review of the historical impacts of bed bugs and their management. The past can offer many insights into the seriousness of the current bed bug resurgence.

Romero, A. 2011. Moving from the old to the new: insecticide research on bed bugs since the resurgence. Insects. 2: 210–217. doi: 10.3390/insects2020210

Although the bed bug resurgence began in the late 1990s, published research on insecticides began in 2006. This literature review focuses on bed bug pest management strategies since 2006, insecticide resistance mechanisms, and insecticide efficacy.


Berg, R. 2010. Bed bugs: the pesticide dilemma. Journal of Environmental Health. 72: 32–35.

This paper describes the problems of bed bug infestation and management, and it discusses the legality, efficacy and safety concerns of using propoxur in the treatment of bed bugs. Other options to help manage bed bug infestations (e.g., heat, steam, diatomaceous earth) also are discussed. 

Fuentes, M. V., S. Sainz-Elipe, S. Sáez-Durán, and M. T. Galán-Puchades. 2010. Bedbug infestations acquired whilst travelling in the European Union. Parasitology. 69: 204–209.

Three homes in València (Spain) with bed bug infestations were evaluated. The origins of the infestations were UK, Spain and Sweden. Control measures included washing and cleaning all affected belongings, throwing away infested belongings, and several insecticide applications.

Hirao, M. 2010. Recent resurgence of bedbug and its management. Medical Entomology and Zoology. 61: 211–221. doi: 10.7601/mez.61.211

A Japanese literature review regarding the historical and current bed bug issues including human bites, resurgence explanations, and control measures. Increasing infestations of bed bugs around the world have been a problem for many countries. In Japan, a resurgence of bedbugs has been noted after the early 2000s. New bed bug control methods should be implemented to help deal with the resurgent bed bug problem.

Iwamoto, T. 2010. The present condition of bedbug management in the US: Some tips on promoting unification of laws regulating pesticides in Japan. Medical Entomology and Zoology. 61: 255–260.

A Japanese article that provides a literature review regarding pyrethroid resistance in bed bugs and current pest management professional strategies for dealing with bed bugs. The author suggests that members of the Insecticide Research Group at the Japan Society of Medical Entomology and Zoology should consider unifying laws regulating pesticides for public health use and agricultural use as an ideal step forward for pest control.

Motoki, M. 2010. Current status and problems of bed control in the pest control industry. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 61: 251–253.

A literature review focusing on bed bug control in Japanese apartments, single family homes, and hotels. In all locations, early detection is necessary. Insecticide spraying needs to be repeated several times. In hotels, it is important not to provide infested rooms or share contaminated vacuum cleaners and bedding.

Naylor, R. A., and C. J. Boase. 2010. Practical solutions for treating laundry infested with Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 103: 136–139.

Researchers evaluated various laundering methods to disinfect clothing with bed bugs. All life stages (adults, nymphs, and eggs) were killed by (1) washing at 60°C [140°F], (2) tumble drying for at least 30 minutes on the hot cycle (>40°C [104°F]), (3) dry cleaning with perchloroethylene, or (4) freezing for at >2 hours at -17°C [1.4°F] (2.5 kg of loosely packed, dry laundry took ≈8 hours to reach -17°C [1.4°F]). Soaking items in detergent-free water for 24 hours was sufficient to kill bed bug adults and nymphs but there was no effect on eggs.

Okamoto, H., S. Sembo, T. Ishiwatari, and J. Miyaguchi2010. Insecticidal activity of 8 household and hygiene insecticides against bed bug (Cimex lectularius). Medical Entomology and Zoology. 61: 245–250. doi: 10.7601/mez.61.245

Researchers evaluated eight insecticides used in Japanese households for bed bug control. All were evaluated in the laboratory against a pyrethroid-susceptible bed bug strain. Six of the products were evaluated in topical application bioassays and filter paper contact bioassays, and fenitrothion and d-d-t cyphenothrin had the highest efficacy compared to permethrin, d-phenothrin, propoxur and metoxadiason.  In bioassays using oil formulations of permethrin, imiprothrin, d-tetramethrin, permethrin had the highest killing efficacy and imiprothrin had the highest knock down activity.

Romero, A., M. F. Potter, and K. F. Haynes2010. Evaluation of chlorfenapyr for control of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. Pest Management Science. 66: 1243–1248. doi: 10.1002/ps.2002

“BACKGROUND: The presence of bed bug populations resistant to pyrethroids demands the development of new control tactics, including the use of insecticides with new modes of action. Insecticides that disrupt oxidative phosphorylation in insect mitochondria can be an option. Laboratory assays were used to measure the toxicity of chlorfenapyr to susceptible strains and two strains highly resistant to pyrethroids. The effectiveness of two chlorfenapyr-based formulations was compared, and behavioral responses of bed bugs to dry residues of aerosol sprays were evaluated.

“RESULTS: Chlorfenapyr was effective against all bed bug strains, killing them at a similar rate, regardless of their susceptibility status to pyrethroids. Dry residues aged for 4 months were as toxic as fresh dry residues. The aerosol formulation had contact activity and caused faster mortality than a water-based formulation. Bed bugs did not avoid resting on surfaces treated with aerosol.

“CONCLUSION: Chlorfenapyr is an option for controlling pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs. While it does not cause quick knockdown, its long residual activity and no avoidance behavior of bed bugs to dry residues appear to make this insecticide suitable for bed bug control. A faster insecticidal effect is obtained with the aerosol formulation, suggesting greater bioavailability of the toxicant.”

Schmahl, G., K. A. S. Al-Rasheid, F. Abdel-Ghaffar, S. Klimpel, and H. Mehlhorn2010. The efficacy of neem seed extracts (Tre-san®, MiteStop®) on a broad spectrum of pests and parasites. Parasitology Research. 107: 261–269. doi: 10.1007/s00436-010-1915-x

The contact toxicity of a patented neem seed extract was evaluated against a variety of arthropod pests. The extracts (diluted with shampoo or water) killed bed bugs, cat fleas, head lice, cockroaches, house dust mites, poultry mites, harvest mites, and ticks (Ixodes and Rhipicephalus). Some species (beetles, kissing bugs [Triatoma], fly maggots) were not very susceptible to the neem seed extract.

Suwannayod, S., Y. Chanbang, and S. Buranapanichpan. 2010. The life cycle and effectiveness of insecticides against the bed bugs of Thailand. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 41: 548–554.

This study describes the life cycle of two species of bed bugs found in Thailand. The duration from egg to adult took 39.9±7.0 and 36.9±8.2 days for C. hemipterus and C. lectularius, respectively. Data are provided on the efficacy of four insecticides (propetamphos, pirimiphos-methyl, bifenthrin, and alpha-cypermethrin) against these species. Pyrethroid resistance was evident in C. lectularius.


Romero, A., M. F. Potter, and K. F. Haynes. 2009. Behavioral responses of the bed bug to insecticide residues. Journal of Medical Entomology. 46: 51–57. doi: 10.1603/033.046.0107

Bed bug behavioral responses to residues of two commonly used insecticides (deltamethrin and chlorfenapyr) are described. In choice tests, bed bugs avoided resting on surfaces that were treated with deltamethrin, but they did not avoid surfaces treated with chlorfenapyr. However, a pyrethroid resistant bed bug strain did not avoid deltamethrin-treated harborages that contained bed bug feces and eggs. Video recordings indicated that bed bugs increased their activity when they contacted sublethal doses of deltamethrin. Bed bugs readily crossed surfaces treated with chlorfenapyr or deltamethrin to reach a food source.

Romero, A. 2009. Biology and management of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Heteroptera: Cimicidae). Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

“I explored a diverse set of objectives to answer key questions concerning bed bug biology and control. Major objectives were studies of circadian rhythmicity, pyrethroid resistance, sublethal effects of insecticides, synergism of pyrethroids, and evaluation of a pyrrole insecticides, chlorfenapyr. Additional studies included persistence of Borrelia in bed bugs after ingestion, and aggregation factors from feces. In the absence of host stimuli, insects were much more active in the dark than in the light. Nocturnal activity was periodical under continuous light conditions, which indicates that locomotion is endogenously generated by a circadian clock. Circadian rhythm was entrained to reverse dark-light regimes. Short–term starved adults moved more frequently than long-starved adults. These results suggest that starved bugs reduce locomotor activity as a strategy to conserve metabolic reserves. Pyrethroid resistance in C. lectularius was documented for the first time. Extremely high levels of resistance to deltamethrin and λ-cyhalothrin, was detected in populations collected in Kentucky and Ohio. The resistance ratios reported are among the highest documented in any arthropod. Evaluations of more than 20 populations from across the United States indicate that resistance to pyrethroid insecticides is widespread. Bed bugs avoided resting on surfaces treated with deltamethrin but not with chlorfenapyr. Video recordings of bed bugs showed that insects increased their activity when they contacted sublethal doses of deltamethrin. However, harborages treated with a-deltamethrin remained attractive. A nearby heat source overcame avoidance to deltamethrin. The P450 inhibitor piperonyl butoxide (PBO) enhanced toxicity of deltamethrin to resistant bed bugs. However, the residual resistance after PBO treatment indicated that other resistance mechanisms are involved. The effectiveness of combining PBO with pyrethroids varied among populations, which indicates that this synergist is not a comprehensive solution to pyrethroid resistance. Chlorfenapyr was effective against pyrethroid resistant strains. While it does not cause quick knockdown, long residual activity and no avoidance behavior to dry residues appears to make this insecticide a useful tool for bed bug control.”




Moore, D. J., and D. M. Miller2006. Laboratory evaluations of insecticide product efficacy for control of Cimex lectularius. Journal of Economic Entomology. 99: 2080–2086. doi: 10.1603/0022-0493-99.6.2080

“A susceptible, laboratory strain of bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., was used to determine the efficacy of insecticide products labeled or possessing a site label for bed bug control. Field strain bed bugs also were used to evaluate one insecticide product. The lethal time (LT)50 values calculated for the laboratory strain bed bugs indicated that all of the pyrethroid products killed significantly faster than chlorfenapyr (0.5% [AI]; Phantom: BASF; LT50 =10 d and 9 h). λ -Cyhalothrin (0.03%; Demand CS; Syngenta) was the fastest acting insecticide (LT50 =20 min), followed by bifenthrin (0.02% [AI]; Talstar One, FMC; LT50 =53 min), deltamethrin (0.06% [AI]; Suspend SC; Bayer; LT50 = 61 min), and permethrin (0.05%; Dragnet SFR; FMC; LT50 =88 min). The field strain bed bugs exposed to deltamethrin had an LT50 value of 14 day 8 h, indicating that the field strain was significantly less susceptible to deltamethrin than the laboratory strain. Chlorfenapyr exposure did not prevent the laboratory strain bed bugs from mating and laying eggs, nor did it prevent the eggs from hatching during the 2-wk exposure period. Surprisingly, none of the insecticides tested, including the pyrethroids, were repellent to laboratory strain bed bugs. Bed bugs rested on pyrethroid-treated panels and remained in contact with the panels until they died (2 h). Chlorfenapyr was also not repellent to bed bugs, but it caused no mortality during the 2-h test period. This study suggests that although pyrethroids were effective for controlling laboratory strain bed bugs, there is the potential for significant resistance in field strains. This study also determined that pyrethroid products were not repellent to bed bugs and would not cause bed bug aggregations to scatter or avoid treated surfaces.”


Busvine, J. R. 1946. The comparative toxicity of various contact insecticides to the louse (Pediculus humanus L.) and the bed-bug (Cimex lectularius L.). The Annals of Applied Biology. 33: 271–279.

Several insecticides were tested to determine their contact toxicity against bed bugs and body lice.