Heating the exterior of suitcases may decrease the spread of bed bugs through luggage

August 1, 2016, Wiley

New research indicates that brief heat treatment is a promising way to decrease the spread of bed bugs being transported on the outer surface of luggage.

When soft-sided suitcases with male on the outside were exposed to an of 70-75oC, it took only six minutes to kill all of the bed bugs, even those that had concealed themselves under zipper flaps or decorative piping. During heating, only one bed bug (out of 250 total) moved into the luggage (through a closed zipper). Also, at , only three percent of bugs placed on the outside of the suitcases had moved inside during a 24-hour period.

"Heat has attracted a lot of interest as a control method for bed bugs because it is effective and environmentally benign, but it can take a lot of time for heat to thoroughly penetrate a piece of furniture or a suitcase and increase the at the location of the hidden bed bugs inside," said Dr. Catherine Loudon, author of the Pest Management Science article.

"Bed bugs located on the outside of luggage are one of the few cases in which they are somewhat peripherally constrained and therefore more vulnerable to a quick exposure of heat."

Explore further: Thick-skinned bed bugs beat commonly used bug sprays

More information: Catherine Loudon. Rapid Killing of Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) on Surfaces using Heat: Application to Luggage. Pest Management Science. DOI: 10.1002/ps.4409

Related Stories

Thick-skinned bed bugs beat commonly used bug sprays

April 13, 2016

The global resurgence in bed bugs over the past two decades could be explained by revelations that bed bugs have developed a thicker cuticle that enables them to survive exposure to commonly used insecticides, according to ...

Repulsive smell could combat bed bugs

March 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 ...

Do bed bugs have favorite colors?

April 25, 2016

Researchers from the University of Florida and Union College in Lincoln, NE wondered whether bed bugs preferred certain colors for their hiding places, so they did some testing in the lab. The tests consisted of using small ...

Recommended for you

Solar panels for yeast cell biofactories

November 15, 2018

Genetically engineered microbes such as bacteria and yeasts have long been used as living factories to produce drugs and fine chemicals. More recently, researchers have started to combine bacteria with semiconductor technology ...

Orangutan mothers found to engage in displaced reference

November 15, 2018

A pair of researchers with the University of St Andrews has observed orangutan mothers engaging in displaced reference after observation of a perceived threat. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, Adriano ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.