Recent Progress in Bed Bug Management

  • Kenneth F. Haynes
  • Michael F. Potter


The world-wide resurgence of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., has prompted new investigations into their control. In part the resurgence may be explained by the evolution and spread of resistance to pyrethroids, which have been a mainstay for controlling bed bugs and other indoor pests. The magnitude, distribution, and mechanisms of resistance will be presented and discussed here. Pyrethroid resistance has necessitated a switch to other classes of insecticides and control tactics, some of which we have studied. Heat treatments have proven to be effective, but only when reintroduction of bed bugs can be prevented. Direct control with steam, freezing, and vacuuming can kill or remove insects that are within the limited range of these laborious techniques. Chlorfenapyr and neonicotinoids, the latter being marketed as combination products with pyrethroids, have thus far been effective in killing pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs. Desiccants and other insecticidal dusts often have a role to play in multifaceted control programs. DDVP, a volatile organophosphate insecticide could help to eliminate bugs and their eggs from difficult to treat items. Many insecticides will kill bed bugs if they are directly sprayed with the formulated insecticides. Bed bug control is made much more difficult by the surreptitious behaviors of the insects. There is an acute need for insecticides with residual activity that can be safely used in this sensitive setting so that host and harborage seeking bugs will be exposed. Integration of chemical and non-chemical methods is recommended, because no single approach, other than specialized applications such as fumigation or area-wide heat treatment, has been shown to be consistently effective. Perhaps the greatest need for the pest management industry is a way to detect less obvious infestations and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment programs. Well-trained dogs can be effective in detecting bed bugs under certain conditions, but are expensive to train and maintain. There is a plethora of traps on the market, including those that take advantage of the inherent responses of bed bugs to heat and CO2, and other host odors. The unusual mating behavior in which the male introduces sperm directly into the female’s body cavity is a possible vulnerability for future applications.


Diatomaceous Earth Juvenile Hormone Pyrethroid Insecticide Mating Disruption Lethal Temperature 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology, College of AgricultureUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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