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Rapid killing of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) on surfaces using heat: application to luggage.

  • Author(s): Loudon, Catherine
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.4409
Abstract

Background

The resistance of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) to chemical insecticides has motivated the development of non-chemical control methods such as heat treatment. However, because bed bugs tend to hide in cracks or crevices, their behavior incidentally generates a thermally insulated microenvironment for themselves. Bed bugs located on the outer surface of luggage are less insulated and potentially more vulnerable to brief heat treatment.

Results

Soft-sided suitcases with adult male bed bugs on the outside were exposed to an air temperature of 70-75 °C. It took 6 min 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 in total) moved into the luggage (through a closed zipper). Over long periods of time (24 h) at room temperature, adult male bed bugs on the exterior of luggage only infrequently moved inside; only 3% (5/170) had moved inside during 24 h.

Conclusions

Brief exterior heat treatment of luggage is a promising way to reduce the spread of bed bugs being transported on the outer surface of luggage. This treatment will not kill bed bugs inside the luggage, but could be a component of integrated management for this pest. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

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