Study: Some bed bugs climb better than others

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March 16 (UPI) — No bed bug trap is foolproof. Some bed bugs can elude the confines of contraptions set by experienced pest management professionals. That’s because, according to new research, some bed bugs have superior climbing abilities.

Recent experiments showed the tropical bed bug species, Cimex hemipterus, can shimmy up the smooth walls of pitfall traps.

Researchers at the University of Science, Malaysia tested the efficacy of four American-made traps on C. hemipterus. In the United States, a different bed bug species, Cimex lectularius, is more common.

The tropical bed bug species boasts small pads on its feet that helped it escape from the smooth-walled traps. Images captured with an electron scanning microscope showed the tibial pads of C. hemipterus have more hairs than those of C. lectularius. The tropical species also has a more powerful organ for secreting an adhesive substance onto the tibial hairs.

Researchers say their findings — detailed in the Journal of Economic Entomology — have significant implications for pest management professionals in tropical regions, where C. hemipterus is more common.

But C. hemipterus aren’t relegated to the tropics. They can be found alongside other species in more temperate climes, too.

“Unfortunately, due to their close resemblance, most pest management professionals are unable to tell between C. lectularius and C. hemipterus,” Chow-Yang Lee, professor of entomology, said in a news release.

“Hence, if some of the pitfall traps used in this study, which otherwise could effectively contain C. lectularius, were used during the monitoring process, they would not be able to contain C. hemipterus, which may give a false impression that the monitored premises are free of bed bugs or having a low infestation rate. This may affect the decision-making process on the treatment type, and eventually lead to control failure.”

 

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