Behavioral responses of the bed bug to insecticide residues

Alvaro Romero, Michael F. Potter, Kenneth F. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The recent resurgence of bed bugs, Citnex lectularius L. (Heteroptera: Cimicidae), has increased the demand for information about effective control tactics. Several studies have focused on determining the susceptibility of bed bug populations to insecticides. However, behavioral responses of bed bugs to insecticide residues could influence their efficacy. The behavioral responses of bed bugs to deltamethrin and chlorfenapyr, two commonly used insecticides for bed bug control in the United States, were evaluated. In two-choice tests, grouped insects and individual insects avoided resting on filter paper treated with deltamethrin. Insects did not avoid surfaces treated with chlorfenapyr. Harborages, containing feces and eggs and treated with a deltamethrin-based product, remained attractive to individuals from a strain resistant to pyrethroids. Video recordings of bed bugs indicated that insects increased activity when they contacted sublethal doses of deltamethrin. Insecticide barriers of chlorfenapyr or deltamethrin did not prevent bed bugs from reaching a warmed blood source and acquiring blood meals. We discuss the impact of these responses on bed bug control practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Behavioral responses
  • Cimex lectularius
  • Insecticide avoidance
  • Locomotor activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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