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Efficacy of Commercially Available Ultrasonic Pest Repellent Devices to Affect Behavior of Bed Bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)

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Little is known about the potential for acoustic communication in bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), or the use of sound as cues in host location, although many hemipterans are known to communicate with sound. Most behavioral research has focused on bed bug pheromones that are used in aggregation and as alarm signals. We investigated the influence of sound as a deterrent and as an attractant, either of which could ultimately be used to monitor and control bed bugs. Female bed bugs were tested in two-choice tests with four different commercially available ultrasonic repellent devices. We found that female bed bugs were equally likely to occur in arenas with or without sound produced by ultrasonic devices. These devices did not repel or attract bed bugs during choice trials. However, more bed bugs preferred the middle corridor between the test (sound) and control (no sound) arenas when the sound devices were played. Bed bugs were also more likely to exit the middle corridor during control trials compared with treatment trials with ultrasonic devices. Our results confirm that commercial devices producing ultrasound are not a promising tool for repelling bed bugs.

Keywords: Cimex lectularius; bed bug; management; repellency; ultrasound

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC12166

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • 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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