Bed Bug Control: Conventional Insecticides


Krüger A., E. Schmolz, and A. Vander Pan. 2021. Methods for Testing Repellents Against Bed Bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 114 (1), 265–273, DOI: 10.1093/jee/toaa304

“Bed bug repellents should not only prevent humans from being bitten but impede an infestation of personal belongings. Only a few test proposals for evaluating the efficacy of repellents against bed bugs have been published so far. In the present study, two test systems were assessed for efficacy testing with five potential bed bug repellents (cinnamon oil, icaridin, N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET), permethrin, and margosa extract). The first test setup was a harborage choice test system that consisted of a crystallizing dish with a treated and an untreated harborage. Sixty minutes and 24 h after treatment, DEET, icaridin, and cinnamon oil showed the highest repellency with a median proportion of at least 99% repelled bed bugs. The second test system was a barrier test. Bed bugs were attracted by CO2 and heat to cross filter papers treated with the potential repellents. The repellency of substances was significantly lower in comparison to the harborage choice test, except for DEET. The latter showed the highest repellency (97%) against bed bugs 24 h after application compared to controls. Results show that bed bugs are less sensitive to repellents when searching for a bloodmeal than when searching for a shelter.”


Ranabhat, S. and C. Wang. 2020. Effect of Moisture on Efficacy of Selected Insecticide Dusts Against the Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 113(4): 1933-1939. DOI: 10.1093/jee/toaa122

“Insecticide dust formulations are considered as more effective for controlling the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius (L) (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), than residual sprays. Various environmental factors may affect the efficacy of insecticide dusts. In this study, we evaluated the effect of moisture on the efficacy of three insecticide dusts against C. lectularius. Moisture was created using two methods: applying steam to insecticide dust-treated tiles and aging insecticide dust-treated tiles in chambers with various levels of relative humidity (RH). In the steam treatment, three insecticides including Cimexa (92.1% amorphous silica gel), Alpine (0.25% dinotefuran, 95% diatomaceous earth), and Tempo (1% cyfluthrin) were evaluated. Exposure to steam significantly reduced the efficacy of all three insecticide dusts. Among the three insecticides, the efficacy of Cimexa was significantly higher than Alpine and Tempo. In the different RH treatments, Cimexa treated tiles that were aged under different (52, 75, and 100%) RH conditions for 1 and 2 mo caused significantly lower mortality to C. lectularius than nonaged Cimexa. We conclude that both, a short period of exposure to steam and long-period aging in a moist environment, can significantly reduce the efficacy of insecticide dusts. Moisture needs to be considered when applying insecticide dusts for controlling bed bug infestations.”


Aak, A., E. Roligheten, B. A. Rukke, and T. Birkemoe2017. Desiccant dust and the use of CO2 gas as a mobility stimulant for bed bugs: a potential control solution? Journal of Pest Science. 90(1): 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 COappeared 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. Romero2017. Behavioral responses of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, to insecticide dusts. Insects. 8(3): 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.”

Campbell, B. E., and D. M. Miller2017. 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. Haynes2017. 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(5): e0177410. 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. Haynes2017. Behavioral effects of sublethal exposure to a combination of β-cyfluthrin and imidacloprid in the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. Pest Management Science. 73(3): 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. Lee2017. Effects of different surfaces and insecticide carriers on residual insecticide bioassays against bed bugs, Cimex spp. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 110(2): 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. Liu2017. 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.”


Akhtar, Y., and M. B. Isman2016. 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(4): 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.”

Hinson, K. R., E. P. Benson, P. A. Zungoli, W. C. Bridges, and B. R. Ellis2016. Egg hatch rate and nymphal survival of the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) after exposure to insecticide sprays. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109(6): 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.”

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. 73(1):113-117.  doi: 10.1002/ps.4294

“BACKGROUNDResidual 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. RESULTSThe 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. CONCLUSIONThis 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.”

Lilly, D. G., C. Webb, and S. L. Doggett2016. Evidence of tolerance to silica-based desiccant dusts in a pyrethoid-resistant strain of Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Insects. 7(4): 74. doi: 10.3390/insects7040074

“Insecticide resistance in bed bugs (Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus) has become widespread, which has necessitated the development of new IPM (Integrated Pest Management) strategies and products for the eradication of infestations. Two promising options are the diatomaceous earth and silica gel-based desiccant dusts, both of which induce dehydration and eventual death upon bed bugs exposed to these products. However, the impact of underlying mechanisms that confer resistance to insecticides, such as cuticle thickening, on the performance of these dusts has yet to be determined. In the present study, two desiccant dusts, CimeXa Insecticide Dust (silica gel) and Bed Bug Killer Powder (diatomaceous earth) were evaluated against two strains of C. lectularius; one highly pyrethroid-resistant and one insecticide-susceptible. Label-rate doses of both products produced 100% mortality in both strains, albeit over dissimilar time-frames (3–4 days with CimeXa vs. 14 days with Bed Bug Killer). Sub-label rate exposure to CimeXa indicated that the pyrethroid-resistant strain possessed a degree of tolerance to this product, surviving 50% longer than the susceptible strain. This is the first study to suggest that mechanisms conferring resistance to pyrethroids, such as cuticular thickening, may have potential secondary impacts on non-synthetic insecticides, including desiccant dusts, which target the bed bug’s cuticle.”

Singh, N., C. Wang, and R. Cooper2016. 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.”

Singh, N., C. Wang, D. Wang, R. Cooper, and C. Zha2016. Comparative efficacy of selected dust insecticides for controlling Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 109(4): 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.”

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.”


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(2): 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(3): 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.”

Maschek, K. S., and J. Goddard2015. Laboratory assays with various insecticides against bed bugs taken from a poultry house in Mississippi. Midsouth Entomologist. 8: 10–15.

“Bed bugs may be severe pests in poultry houses, especially broiler breeder houses, leading to stress, anemia, and lowered egg production in the birds. Insecticides are important tools in managing these pests; however, efficacy data for many commercially available products is lacking. This laboratory study evaluated 8 insecticides (5 traditional residual products and 3 natural or “green” products) against bed bugs collected from a poultry house in Mississippi during August 2014. Invader® (propoxur), Ravap® (rabon and vapona), and Cimexa® (silica gel) killed 100% of bed bugs when exposed to ceramic tiles sprayed with the products 24 hours earlier. Interestingly, Ravap® (rabon/vapona combination) is labeled for use inside poultry houses even with birds present. Cimexa® is a non-toxic powder which desiccates bugs. Tempo® and Suspend® (pyrethroids) killed 73% and 93% of bed bugs, respectively, indicating that the poultry house field strain used in this study was likely not pyrethroid resistant. The organophosphate, Durashield® (chlorpyrifos), also showed good efficacy against poultry bed bugs, killing 96% of the bugs in this test, but cannot be used in the presence of birds. Alpine dust® (diatomaceous earth/dinotefuran) and EcoExempt® (phenethyl propionate/soybean oil/clove oil), both considered natural products, only killed about half of the exposed bed bugs in this study (46% and 45% control, respectively).”

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(1): 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.”


Choe, D.-H., and K. Campbell. 2014. Effect of feeding status on mortality response of adult bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) to some insecticide products. Journal of Economic Entomology. 107(3): 1206-1215. doi: 10.1603/EC13478

“Fresh and aged residual deposits of several insecticide products were tested against bed bug adults to determine if a recent bloodmeal affected their mortality response to the residues. The bed bugs with a recent bloodmeal survived significantly longer compared with the unfed ones on their exposure to fresh or aged residual deposits of chlorfenapyr and aged residual deposits of deltamethrin on a wooden substrate. Even though the survival time of fed bed bugs was significantly longer than that of unfed ones on their exposure to fresh residue of deltamethrin and aged residue of desiccant pyrethrin dust, these treatments resulted in similarly high final mortalities regardless of feeding status of the insects. Mortality responses of fed and unfed bed bugs were similar to fresh or aged residual deposits of imidacloprid + cyfluthrin combination and fresh residual deposits of desiccant pyrethrin dust. Topical application assays indicated that a recent bloodmeal significantly increased the bed bug’s survival time for chlorfenapyr, but not for deltamethrin. Pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs also showed a similar increase in their survival time for chlorfenapyr after a bloodmeal. The comparison of mortality responses between fed and unfed bed bugs treated with similar amount of chlorfenapyr per fresh body weight indicated that increased body mass was not the primary cause for this bloodmeal-induced tolerance increase for chlorfenapyr. Because the surviving bed bugs can continue ovipositing, the effectiveness of chlorfenapyr residual deposits in bed bug harborages could be significantly affected by the feeding status of the adult bed bug populations.”

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(4): 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.”


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.”

Jones, S. C., J. L. Bryant, and S. A. Harrison2013. Behavioral responses of the bed bug to permethrin-impregnated ActiveGuardTM fabric. Insects. 4(2): 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.”

Wang, C., L. Lu, A. Zhang, and C. Liu. 2013. Repellency of selected chemicals against the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 106(6): 2522-2529. doi: 10.1603/EC13155

“In recent years, the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), became a major public health concern in urban communities. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to control, and their bites are not tolerated by most people. The public has an urgent need for materials and methods to reduce bed bug introduction and bites during work, travel, or sleep. A repellent product will help achieve these goals by discouraging and preventing bed bugs from moving to a protected area. We evaluated the repellency of three commercially available insect repellent or control materials and five nonregistered materials with the goal of identifying safe and effective bed bug repellents. The two commercial repellent products that contained 7% picaridin or 0.5% permethrin had little repellency against bed bugs. N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), the most commonly used insect repellent, provided a high level of repellency against bed bugs. When a host cue (carbon dioxide) was present, the minimum DEET concentration to repel ≥94% of the bed bugs for a 9-h period was 10%. The longevity of repellency of DEET was concentration dependent. At 25% concentration, DEET-treated fabric surface remained highly repellent to bed bugs for a 14-d period. However, DEET has a strong smell and dissolves certain plastic materials. Therefore, we evaluated several odorless, noncorrosive, and potentially effective repellents. Isolongifolenone and isolongifolanone, two natural products and recently reported insect repellents, exhibited strong repellent property against bed bugs but at significantly lower levels than DEET. Three novel potential repellent compounds discovered by Bedoukian Research Inc. (Danbury, CT) exhibited similar level of repellency and longevity as DEET for repelling bed bugs. These nonirritant and odorless compounds are promising candidates as alternatives to DEET for reducing the spread of bed bugs and bed bug bites.”

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(1): 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.


Anderson, J. F., and R. S. Cowles2012. Susceptibility of Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) to pyrethroid insecticides and to insecticidal dusts with or without pyrethroid insecticides. Journal of Economic Entomology. 105(5): 1789–1795. doi: 10.1603/EC12089

“Relative increases of bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., populations are probably due in large measure to their resistance to pyrethroids, which have been used extensively against urban pests. A Connecticut population of bed bugs was assessed for sensitivity to pyrethroids and exposed to commonly-used commercial insecticides applied to various substrates on which the residues were allowed to age for 0–24 wk. Type I and type II pyrethroids differed in toxicity when applied at a high dosage (1 μg) per bed bug. Some type II pyrethroids (cyfluthrin, λ-cyhalothrin, cis-cypermethrin, and deltamethrin) caused >80% mortality, whereas exposure to type I pyrethroids caused <5% mortality over 72 h (with one exception, pyrethrins caused 23% mortality). Dust products were not affected by residue aging; mortality response over time of exposure closely fit (R2 > 0.95) an exponential rise to a maximum model from which the survival half-life (S1/2) was calculated directly. Tempo Dust (Bayer Environmental Science, Montvale, NJ) killed bed bugs relatively quickly, as did Syloid 244 (Grace Davison, Columbia, MD) and Drione (Bayer Environmental Science, Montvale, NJ) on hardboard and mattress fabric substrates (S1/2 < 1 d); DeltaDust (Bayer Environmental Science, Montvale, NJ) provided a relatively slow kill (S1/2 ≈ 3.5 d). The sprayable pyrethroids, Cyonara 9.7 (Insecticide Control solutions, Pasadena, TX) and D-Force HPX Aerosol 0.06% (Waterbury Companies, Waterbury, CT), displayed reduced residual toxicity as they aged; the mortality was <50% on some substrates after 4 d. Desiccant dusts, with their physical mode of action and long residual activity, appear to be superior to sprayable pyrethroid products for killing bed bugs.”

Christie-Smith, A., and A. D. Lassiter2012. A multidisciplinary approach toward successful bed bug elimination in a homeless domiciliary setting. American Journal of Infection Control. 40(5): e111. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.04.192

Summary: Homeless domiciliaries (HDOM) are susceptible to bed bug infestation, and no guidelines for control in HDOMs currently exist. Staff and residents of a HDOM cooperated with pest management professionals (PMP) to create a bed bug control protocol with resident buy-in. Education of staff and residents of bed bug preventative behaviors and protocols were implemented. The bed bug population in this HDOM was apparently eliminated, and monitoring by staff and PMP is ongoing. However, the amount of labor required by staff to achieve this result was problematic and led to inconsistent compliance. 

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., and J. L. Bryant. 2012. Ineffectiveness of over-the-counter total-release foggers against the bed bug (Heteroptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 105(3): 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.


Doggett, S. L., C. J. Orton, D. G. Lilly, and R. C. Russell2011. Bed bugs: the Australian response. Insects. 2(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.

How, Y.-F., and C.-Y. Lee2011. Surface contact toxicity and synergism of several insecticides against different stages of the tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Pest Management Science. 67(6): 734–740. doi: 10.1002/ps.2123

“BACKGROUND: Five formulated insecticides (lambda-cyhalothrin at 10 mg m−2, bifenthrin at 50 mg m−2, fipronil at 10 mg m−2, fenitrothion at 50 mg m−2, imidacloprid at 5 mg m−2) and one active ingredient (DDT at 500 mg m−2) were evaluated using a surface contact method against early and late instars and adults of two strains of the tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus (F.). Synergism of lambda-cyhalothrin and fipronil using piperonyl butoxide (PBO) was also assessed. RESULTS: The order of susceptibility of different stages of bed bugs was as follows: early stage − lambda-cyhalothrin > bifenthrin = imidacloprid > fipronil > fenitrothion > DDT; late stage—lambda-cyhalothrin > bifenthrin > fenitrothion > imidacloprid > fipronil > DDT; adult—lambda-cyhalothrin > imidacloprid > bifenthrin > fenitrothion > fipronil > DDT. The late instars exhibited significantly higher LT50 among the life stages. The addition of PBO to fipronil increased the susceptibility of the insects. CONCLUSIONS: Lambda-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, fenitrothion and fipronil at the recommended application rates were effective against C. hemipterus. Although imidacloprid demonstrated good initial response against C. hemipterus, the insects showed substantial recovery 72 h post-treatment. The late instars (fourth and fifth instars) should be used as the model for toxicological evaluation.”

Potter, M. F. 2011. The history of bed bug management- with lessons from the past. American Entomologist. 57(1): 14–25. doi: 10.1093/ae/57.1.14

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(2): 210–217. doi: 10.3390/insects2020210

“The scarcity of bed bugs in many countries over the last 50 years has resulted in a lack of modern research into the toxicology of this pest. Although bed bugs resurged in the late 1990s, published research related to insecticides has lagged behind and only began to appear in 2006. The difficulty in controlling bed bugs triggered the interest of both private and academic sectors to determine the value of currently available insecticides. What follows, is updated information on effectiveness of products, studies on insecticide susceptibility, identification of mechanisms of insecticide resistance and chemical strategies proposed to overcome resistance in modern bed bug populations.”


Berg, R. 2010. Bed bugs: the pesticide dilemma. Journal of Environmental Health. 72(10): 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. 

Hirao, M. 2010. Recent resurgence of bedbug and its management. Medical Entomology and Zoology. 61(3): 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(3): 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(3): 251–253. doi: 10.7601/mez.61.251

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.

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(3): 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(11): 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.”

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(3): 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.


Benoit, J. B., S. A. Phillips, T. J. Croxall, B. S. Christensen. J. A. Yoder, and D. L. Denlinger. 2009. Addition of alarm pheromone components improves the effectiveness of desiccant dusts against Cimex lectularius. Journal of Medical Entomology. 46(3): 572-579. doi: 10.1603/033.046.0323

“We demonstrate that the addition of bed bug, Cimex lectularius, alarm pheromone to desiccant formulations greatly enhances their effectiveness during short-term exposure. Two desiccant formulations, diatomaceous earth (DE) and Dri-die (silica gel), were applied at the label rate with and without bed bug alarm pheromone components, (E)-2-hexenal, (E)-2-octenal, and a (E)-2-hexenal: (E)-2-octenal blend. First-instar nymphs and adult females were subjected to 10-min exposures, and water loss rates were used to evaluate the response. Optimal effectiveness was achieved with a pheromone concentration of 0.01 M. With Dri-die alone, the water loss was 21% higher than in untreated controls, and water loss increased nearly two times with (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-octenal and three times with the (E)-2-hexenal: (E)-2-octenal blend. This shortened survival of first-instar nymphs from 4 to 1 d, with a similar reduction noted in adult females. DE was effective only if supplemented with pheromone, resulting in a 50% increase in water loss over controls with the (E)-2-hexenal: (E)-2-octenal blend, and a survival decrease from 4 to 2 d in first-instar nymphs. Consistently, the addition of the pheromone blend to desiccant dust was more effective than adding either component by itself or by using Dri-die or DE alone. Based on observations in a small microhabitat, the addition of alarm pheromone components prompted bed bugs to leave their protective harborages and to move through the desiccant, improving the use of desiccants for control. We concluded that short exposure to Dri-die is a more effective treatment against bed bugs than DE and that the effectiveness of the desiccants can be further enhanced by incorporation of alarm pheromone. Presumably, the addition of alarm pheromone elevates excited crawling activity, thereby promoting cuticular changes that increase water loss.”

Romero, A., M. F. Potter, and K. F. Haynes. 2009. Behavioral responses of the bed bug to insecticide residues. Journal of Medical Entomology. 46(1): 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. Miller. 2009. Field evaluations of insecticide treatment regimens for control of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius (L.). Pest Management Science 65(3): 332-338. doi: 10.1002/ps.1685

“BACKGROUND: Because bedbugs, Cimex lectularius L., have not been a problem in the USA for over 40 years, few insecticide products are labeled for their control. Most products that are labeled for bedbugs are pyrethroids. However, recent studies indicate that field-collected bedbugs may be resistant to pyrethroids. There are also non-pyrethroid products labeled for bedbugs, but, like the pyrethroids, none of these products has been evaluated for field efficacy. This study evaluated the efficacy of two insecticide treatment regimens for bedbugs in multi-unit housing. Both of the treatments included multiple products currently being used by the pest management industry. RESULTS: The ‘traditional’ treatment consisted of applications of pyrethroid products and an insect growth regulator. The ‘novel’ treatment consisted of applications of non-pyrethroid products. The traditional treatment significantly reduced the number of bedbugs from 39.8 ± 10.1 per unit prior to treatment to 2.2 ± 1.0 at the end of the test period (P = 0.02; 95% reduction). The number of live bedbugs in the ‘novel’ treatment was also significantly reduced from 71.4 ± 25.3 bedbugs per unit to 10.2 ± 4.4 after 8 weeks (86% population reduction). CONCLUSIONS: Although both treatment regimens reduced bedbug numbers, the fact that bedbugs were not eliminated after multiple applications suggests that the insecticides, applied at the current label rates, were inadequate. These results suggest that a more integrated approach to bedbug control is necessary in multi-unit housing situations.”

Steelman, C. D., A. L. Szalanski, R. Trout, J. A. McKern, C. Solorzano, and J. W. Austin. 2008. Susceptibility of the bed bug Cimex lectularius L. (Heteroptera: Cimicidae) collected in poultry production facilities to selected insecticides. Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology. 25(1): 41–51. doi: 10.3954/1523-5475-25.1.41

Cimex lectularius L. is a widespread hematophagus insect pest around the world and is currently experiencing a reemergence as a public health pest of concern. One possible source of bed bugs to the human environment is the movement of bed bugs from poultry facilities to human structures by poultry workers. No recent studies have been conducted on the susceptibility of this insect to a wide range of insecticides. In addition, populations of bed bugs from poultry facilities have not been screened against insecticides for over 15 yr. Adult bed bugs collected from three poultry facilities in northwest Arkansas were exposed for 24 or 48 h (25°C) to glass vials treated with various dilutions of 12 insecticides dissolved in acetone to determine the concentration–response relationship. The order of toxicity, from most to least based on the LC50s was: λ-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, carbaryl, imidacloprid, fipronil, permethrin, diazinon, spinosyn, dichlorvos, chlorfenapyr, and DDT. Significant differences in LC50 and LC90values for diazinon was observed among the three populations due to the previous history of repeated exposure to a mixture of tetrachlorvinphos and dichlorvos over a 10 yr period when compared to the LC50s of two populations that had been exposed to the tetrachlorvinphos and dichlorvos mixture during 2–3 flock cycles. Bed bugs in each of the three populations exhibited high levels of DDT resistance, LC50 > 100,000 ppm, which confirms that resistance to this insecticide continues in bed bug populations. This study documents baseline toxicological data for 12 insecticides in three populations of bed bugs and provides the first data on bed bug susceptibility to fipronil, spinosyn, and imidacloprid.”


Moore, D. J., and D. M. Miller2006. Laboratory evaluations of insecticide product efficacy for control of Cimex lectularius. Journal of Economic Entomology. 99(6): 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.