Antennal Olfactory Sensilla Responses to Insect Chemical Repellents in the Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius

Feng Liu, Kenneth F. Haynes, Arthur G. Appel, Nannan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Populations of the common bed bug Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera; Cimicidae), a temporary ectoparasite on both humans and animals, have surged in many developed countries. Similar to other haematophagous arthropods, C. lectularius relies on its olfactory system to detect semiochemicals in the environment, including both attractants and repellents. To elucidate the olfactory responses of the common bed bug to commonly used insect chemical repellents, particularly haematophagous repellents, we investigated the neuronal responses of individual olfactory sensilla in C. lectularius' antennae to 52 insect chemical repellents, both synthetic and botanic. Different types of sensilla displayed highly distinctive response profiles. While C sensilla did not respond to any of the insect chemical repellents, Dγ sensilla proved to be the most sensitive in response to terpene-derived insect chemical repellents. Different chemical repellents elicited neuronal responses with differing temporal characteristics, and the responses of the olfactory sensilla to the insect chemical repellents were dose-dependent, with an olfactory response to the terpene-derived chemical repellent, but not to the non-terpene-derived chemical repellents. Overall, this study furnishes a comprehensive map of the olfactory response of bed bugs to commonly used insect chemical repellents, providing useful information for those developing new agents (attractants or repellents) for bed bug control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-533
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Chemical repellents
  • Cimex lectularius
  • Olfactory sensilla
  • Single sensillum recording

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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