Monday, December 10, 2007

The heat is on: Tracking bed bug responses to host cues

Rebekah Hassell, and Kenneth Haynes, University of Kentucky, Department of Entomology, S-225 Agricultural Sciences Center North, Lexington, KY

The bed bug, Cimex lectularius, has recently resurged as a household pest after its near disappearance following World War II. Heat and carbon dioxide have been implicated as important host-finding cues. We investigated the mechanisms of orientation of bed bugs to these cues by placing individuals in a 26cm x 20cm arena with a heat source ranging from room temperature to 50C. We recorded their movement patterns with video tracking software. More bed bugs found a heat source of 45C than other tested temperatures. The 50C treatment resulted in the highest average velocity; however the bugs took longer to reach the heat source. The treatment closest to body temperature, 35C, resulted in the lowest turning rate as well as the shortest time to the source. The implications of these results for bed bug detection and monitoring will be discussed.

Species 1: Hemiptera Cimicidae Cimex lectularius (bed bug)