Studying bed bug actions for new management tactics

Feb 11, 2013 by Sandra Avant
Studying bed bug actions for new management tactics
ARS scientists are identifying new compounds to control bed bugs.

Learning more about the behavior of bed bugs is one approach being used by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists to identify compounds to help control these pests.

The resurgence of bed bugs over the last decade has caused problems in major U.S. cities where they infest homes, apartments, hotels, shelters and even places of work. The small, blood-feeding insects are not known to transmit diseases, but they can cause severe reactions in people who are allergic to them. Bed bugs usually go unnoticed until their numbers increase significantly, and getting rid of them can be costly.

Entomologist Mark Feldlaufer and chemist Kamlesh Chauhan at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Beltsville, Md., have identified two new alarm pheromones—4-oxo-hexenal and 4-oxo-octenal—in immature bed bugs. The releasing of alarm pheromones, which are defensive , causes aggregated bed bugs to scatter.

Scientists collected cast skins that retain chemicals from the bed bug's scent glands and then used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry technology to analyze and identify compounds. Swedish researchers subsequently identified the same compounds from a related species, the tropical bed bug, demonstrating that the compounds are biologically active.

This indicates that alarm pheromones may have implications in bed bug management, according to Feldlaufer, who works at BARC's Invasive Insect and Behavior Laboratory. By causing insects to disperse, the likelihood of coming into contact with a control agent increases.

ARS and University of Nevada-Reno scientists also identified 17 compounds in the bed bug's outer protective layer of skin, a discovery they believe may play an important role in bed bug aggregation behavior.

Explore further: Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

More information: Read more about this research in the February 2013 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive… eb13/bedbugs0213.htm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Repulsive smell could combat bed bugs

Mar 31, 2011

In recent years, bed bug infestations have become increasingly common in Swedish homes. There are two different species of bed bug that suck blood from humans – the common bed bug and the tropical bed bug. Increased ...

Bug-bomb foggers are no match for bed bugs

Jun 04, 2012

Consumer products known as "bug bombs" or "foggers" have been sold for decades for use against many common household insects. However, recent research published in the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE) shows these produc ...

New technology decodes chemical messages sent by bed bugs

Dec 05, 2012

Bed bugs exchange specific chemical signals corresponding to particular behaviors, and researchers have now combined two unusual technologies to sniff out these signals in a matter of seconds. The results are published December ...

First preliminary profile of proteins in bed bugs' saliva

Jun 23, 2010

With bed bugs reemerging as a nuisance in some parts of the country, scientists are reporting the first preliminary description of the bug's sialome — the saliva proteins that are the secret to Cimex lectularius' ...

Recommended for you

Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

16 hours ago

(Phys.org) —An invasive weed poses a serious and frightening threat to farming families in Ethiopia, but scientists from a Virginia Tech-led program have unleashed a new weapon in the fight against hunger: ...

New tool to assess noise impact on marine mammals

16 hours ago

A new desktop tool which will allow offshore renewable energy developers to assess the likely impacts of their projects on marine mammal populations has been developed by scientists at the University of St ...

Of bees, mites, and viruses

Aug 21, 2014

Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause—and how bees can be saved—remains unclear. An article published on August ...

User comments : 0