Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #320196

Research Project: Prevention of Arthropod Bites

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Title: Ability of the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) defensive secretions (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-octenal to attract adult bed bugs

item Ulrich, Kevin
item Kramer, Matthew
item Feldlaufer, Mark

Submitted to: Physiological Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/6/2015
Publication Date: 1/14/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Ulrich, K.R., Kramer, M.H., Feldlaufer, M.F. 2016. Ability of the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) defensive secretions (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-octenal to attract adult bed bugs. Physiological Entomology. 41:103-110.

Interpretive Summary: Detection of bed bugs and monitoring for their presence are an important first step in any control strategy aimed at controlling these blood-sucking insects, yet no current monitoring device has gained widespread use. Using a video tracking system, we have shown that bed-bug produced chemicals - normally thought of as defensive secretions, causing dispersal of bed bugs - will actually attract adult male and female bed bugs at lower amounts. This information will be useful for commercial organizations that wish to develop cost-effective, reliable means of monitoring and detecting bed bugs.

Technical Abstract: Accurate and timely surveillance of bed bug infestations is critical for development of effective control strategies. While the bed bug produced volatiles (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-octenal are considered defensive secretions, through use of EthoVision® video-tracking software we demonstrate that low concentrations of these commercially-obtained aldehydes actually function as attractants. Behavioral assays indicate both males and female bed bugs are attracted to 0.04 µg of an aldehyde blend (1:1) for up to two hours after initial treatment of filter paper disks. Males differed from females in their response to intermediate amounts of aldehydes, though both sexes showed similar responses to high amounts (400 µg) compared to acetone controls. Results suggest that these bed bug secretions may be candidates for lures and monitors.