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Cold Tolerance of Bed Bugs and Practical Recommendations for Control

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Bed bugs were exposed to freezing temperatures for various exposure times to determine cold tolerance and mortality estimates for multiple life stages. The mean supercooling point for all bed bug life stages ranged from −21.3°C to −30.3°C, with the egg stage reporting the lowest value. A probit analysis provided a lower lethal temperature (LLT99) of −31.2°C when estimates from all life stages were combined, demonstrating that all stages of bed bugs are not capable of surviving temperatures below body freezing and are therefore freeze intolerant. At conditions above the LLT99, bed bug mortality depended on temperature and exposure time at temperatures above LLT99. Based on our model estimates, survival was estimated for temperatures above −12°C even after 1 wk of continuous exposure. However, exposure to temperatures below −13°C will result in 100% mortality in d to ensure mortality of all life stages. Unfortunately, sublethal exposure to lower temperatures did not prevent subsequent feeding behavior in surviving stages. Practical recommendations for management of potentially infested items are discussed.

Keywords: bed bug; cold tolerance; freezing; nonchemical control; supercooling point

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC13032

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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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