Effects of ultralow oxygen and vacuum treatments on bed bug (Heteroptera: Cimicidae) survival

Yong Biao Liu, Kenneth F. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Control of bed bugs is problematic, balancing among efficacy, safety, and cost. In this study, ultralow oxygen (ULO) and vacuum treatments were tested on bed bugs to develop a safer, effective, and environmentally friendly solution to kill bed bugs on infested items. ULO treatments were established by flushing sealed enclosures with nitrogen. All life stages of bed bugs were found to be susceptible to ULO and vacuum treatments, and efficacy of the treatments increased with reduced oxygen levels, increased treatment time, and temperature. In the ULO treatments, 100% mortality of bed bug nymphs and adults and >98% mortality of bed bug eggs were achieved in the 8-h treatment under 0.1% O2 atmosphere at 30°C. Different levels of vacuum that yielded different oxygen levels were tested on all life stages of bed bugs. The susceptibility of different stages to vacuum treatments increased from nymphs to adults to eggs. Complete control of all life stages was achieved in 12 h under -982 mbar (-29.0 inHg) vacuum at 30°C. This study demonstrated that bed bugs were very susceptible to low oxygen stresses and ULO and vacuum treatments have potential to be used as effective and safe treatments to decontaminate bed bug-infested removable objects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1310-1316
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Bed bug control
  • Insect
  • Pest
  • Ultralow oxygen
  • Vacuum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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