Role of semiochemicals in the control of common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L,  (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 10:16 AM
B115-116 (Oregon Convention Center)
Yasmin Akhtar , Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Michael Gilbert , Semiosbio, Semiosbio, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Murray B. Isman , Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L, have re-emerged as important public health pest in the past decade with increasing intensity of urban infestation in North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia. The exact cause of this resurgence is unclear, but may be a consequence of the development of resistance in bed bugs to commonly used synthetic insecticides, including pyrethroids, along with other factors. Bed bugs represent a major indoor pest and the treatment of infestations cost consumers in North America over $2 billion in 2010 alone. Bed bugs are obligate blood feeders and their bites may cause skin rashes, allergic reactions and psychological effects in many individuals. There is strong demand for safe and sustainable bed bug control products that can manage existing populations and prevent the spread of infestations. We will discuss control methods based on semiochemicals – non-toxic behaviour-modifying substances, as part of a bed bug pest management system. Approximately 150 compounds including both natural and synthetic semiochemical analogs, were screened for repellent effects using glass arenas. 20 of 150 compounds screened, demonstrated sufficient bioactivity against bed bugs to be considered for continued repellent formulation development. One compound has been formulated as a spray to protect emergency services personnel (through application to their uniforms) and is currently under joint regulatory review by Health Canada and the EPA. In addition, the same compound has been developed as a granular formulation to be placed inside suitcases for travellers. The use of such compounds could represent a new, low impact standard for public health pest control.