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Free Content Bed Bugs (Cimex Lectularius) and Bat Bugs (several Cimex Species): A Confusing Issue

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Abstract:

Currently, bed bugs are one of the most pressing "vector" issues in pest control and environmental health, with increasing reports of the blood-sucking pest being reported in hotels, apartments, and single-family dwellings. Negative health effects from their bites include emotional distress (anxiety, insomnia, and perhaps even Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms), nuisance bites and their associated cutaneous reactions, anemia, and potential disease transmission. Although bed bugs have been found naturally infected with a variety of disease agents, they have not been conclusively proven to transmit these organisms. Pest management professionals and environmental health specialists are on the front line of the bed bug battle, often being asked to investigate cases in private homes and apartments, as well as in public places such as hotels, hospitals, and schools. Compounding the issue is the fact that bat bugs may infest these places as well, especially if there are bats roosting in them (Usinger 1966). Bat bugs such as Cimex pipistrelli (Europe), Cimex pilosellus (western US), and Cimex adjunctus (entire eastern US) may sometimes bite people visiting or residing near the nesting or roosting sites of these species. Treatment/eradication strategies for bat bugs differ from that of bed bugs, and mainly involve solving the bat problem (not lethally, but by exclusion). Although bat bugs may occasionally bite humans, the bugs are not well-adapted to feeding on people. Bat bugs appear macroscopically identical to bed bugs, but closer examination can reveal differences. This article compares and contrasts identification of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, and the commonly-encountered bat bug, Cimex adjunctus, and provides comments on treatment and control of each.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1564/23jun09

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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