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Bed Bug Biology and Behavior
Department of Entomology
Bed bugs have a severe impact on the quality of life. This impact extends from rural communities to cities. Management of bed bug infestations is not simple, and is exacerbated by the limited availability and efficacy of insecticides. An understanding of behavior and biology of bed bugs will contribute to our potential to control bed bugs. By understanding how heat and CO2 serve as stimuli to attract bugs, we may be able to develop new methods of bed bug detection. The microorganisms that may be involved in digestion of blood are a potential new target for bed bug control. An understanding of sublethal effects of insecticides will allow for their prudent use, including information on where insecticides should be applied, which stages are affected and whether avoidance of insecticides will scatter bed bugs to adjacent rooms.
2011 Project Description
We continued our investigation of the role of bacterial endosymbionts in bed bug biology. Near elimination of Wolbachia did not have a major impact on bed bug reproduction. We began a laboratory investigation of the potential for evolution of resistance to combination insecticides (including a pyrethroid and a neonicotinoid) for bed bug control. We observed a response to selection in one generation, indicating that there is heritable variation in our laboratory colonies with respect to the impact of these insecticides.
We began a study of the impact of insect repellents on bed bug behavior. Some of the commercially available products showed promise in preventing bed bugs from seeking refuge on treated surfaces. We investigated the impact of one insect growth regulator on bed bug development and reproduction. Gentrol showed marked effects on reproduction, but only at high application rates (above the label rate).
Because pest management professionals have few insecticidal options, they must be cognizant of the potential for resistance to combination products that have thus far proven to be efficacious.
Potter, M.F. Haynes, K.F., Rosenberg, B., Henriksen, M. 2011. Bed bugs without borders: Defining the global resurgence. PestWorld. November/December 4-17.