Identification of the Airborne Aggregation Pheromone of the Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius

  • Eric Siljander
  • Regine Gries
  • Grigori Khaskin
  • Gerhard GriesEmail author


Adults and juveniles of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), return to and aggregate in harborages after foraging for hosts. We tested the hypothesis that the aggregation is mediated, in part, by an airborne aggregation pheromone. Volatiles from experimental C. lectularius harborages were captured on Porapak Q, fractionated by liquid chromatography, and bioassayed in dual-choice, still-air olfactometer experiments. Of 14 compounds with >100 pg abundance in gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analyses of two bioactive fractions, 10 compounds [nonanal, decanal, (E)-2-hexenal, (E)-2-octenal, (2E,4E)-octadienal, benzaldehyde, (+)- and (−)-limonene, sulcatone, benzyl alcohol] proved to be essential components of the C. lectularius airborne aggregation pheromone.


Cimex lectularius Cimicidae Bed bug Aggregation pheromone Octanal Nonanal Decanal (E)-2-Hexenal (E)-2-Octenal (2E,4E)-Octadienal (2E,4Z)-Octadienal Benzaldehyde Benzyl acetate Benzyl alcohol Limonene Sulcatone Geranylacetone 



We thank Harold Harlan for supplying Cimex lectularius and advice on their rearing, Cory Campbell, Thomas Cowan, Christine De Pape, Zaid Jumean, Charlene Wood, and Nathan Woodbury for helping feed the bed bug colony, Zaid Jumean and Eberhard Kiehlmann for reviewing the manuscript, Richard Cooper for observations of wild C. lectularius, all laboratory colleagues for advice throughout the project, and Jocelyn Millar and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments. The research was supported by a Thelma Finlayson Graduate Entrance Scholarship, a Master of Pest Management Graduate Entrance Scholarship, and a Simon Fraser University Graduate Fellowship to E.S., and by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada—Industrial Research Chair to G.G. with SC Johnson Canada, Pherotech International Inc. and Global Forest Science (GF-18-2007-226; GF-18-2007-227) as the industrial sponsors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Siljander
    • 1
  • Regine Gries
    • 1
  • Grigori Khaskin
    • 1
  • Gerhard Gries
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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