Encasing Mattresses in Black Plastic Will Not Provide Thermal Control of Bed Bugs, Cimex spp. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)

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The suggestion that bed bug (Cimex spp.; Hemiptera: Cimicidae)-infested mattresses wrapped in black plastic and exposed to sunlight will be heated sufficiently to kill the bed bugs was tested. Two types of mattresses were tested: a thin mattress of solid foam rubber and a thick multilayered inner spring mattress. Temperature probes were placed on both upper and lower sides of the mattresses, which were wrapped in black plastic and placed outside on a summer day for >9 h wherein the ambient temperature peaked at 36.5°C. The maximum recorded temperature on the upper (sun-exposed) sides was 85°C for both mattresses, whereas lower side temperatures for the thick mattress never exceeded 35°C, and some areas of the thin mattress failed to exceed 36.5°C. Therefore, with published thermal death points of 40–45°C depending on exposure time, and opportunities for bed bugs to avoid lethal temperatures by retreating from hot zones, this technique seems to be not suitable for bed bug management.

Keywords: Cimex; bed bugs; black plastic; control; mattress

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-99.6.2132

Publication date: December 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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