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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Discovery and Development of Chemicals for Integrated Pest Management of Biting Arthropods and Urban Pests

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory

Title: Laboratory rearing of bed bugs

item Feldlaufer, Mark
item Miller, D.M.
item Harlan, H -

Submitted to: Rearing Animal & Plant Pathogen Vectors
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 26, 2012
Publication Date: April 24, 2014
Citation: Feldlaufer, M.F., Miller, D., Harlan, H.J. 2014. Laboratory rearing of bed bugs. Rearing Animal & Plant Pathogen Vectors. 1(1):119-130.

Interpretive Summary: Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that are experiencing a comeback and are being found in residences, hotels, dormitories, movies theaters and places of work. In order for scientists to devise new ways to control bed bugs, they need better ways to rear large numbers of these insects in the laboratory. We have devised methods that allow for the raising of large numbers of bed bugs using an artificial feeding technique. We have also developed methods that prevent bed bugs from biting people working with bed bugs, and protocols that prevent bed bugs from accidentally escaping into the laboratory. This information will be useful to scientists that keep bed bugs as part of a research program aimed at developing new methods to control these blood-sucking pests.

Technical Abstract: The resurgence of bed bugs Cimex lectularius L. in the United States and worldwide has resulted in an increase in research by university, government, and industry scientists directed at the biology and control of this blood-sucking pest. A need has subsequently arisen for producing sufficient biological material for research purposes and a variety of rearing methods are currently employed. Colony rearing and maintenance of bed bugs, however, must be conducted carefully, to both reduce the possibility of being accidently bitten, and to prevent the unwanted and unwitting spread of bed bugs both within the laboratory environment, and beyond. We report rearing methodologies and procedures, including in vitro blood-feeding that maximizes the production of all bed bug stages in a controlled environment, while minimizing the likelihood of escape.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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