An Evaluation of Bed Bug (Cimex lectularius L.) Host Location and Aggregation Behavior
Reis, Matthew Douglas
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This study attempts to elucidate bed bug behavior in response to host cues and aggregation cues from conspecifics. Both fed and unfed bed bugs were evaluated to determine differences in behavior with regard to their circadian activities. Arena bioassays were conducted to determine the bed bugâ s ability to locate a host from different distances and if the antennae were essential for host location. Starved bed bugs were able to locate a host from 100 cm away. The bed bugs search path became more directed towards the host as the bed bug was placed at closer distances. The bed bugsâ mean searching speed was found to be 1.7 cm/s. The bed bugs were able to locate a host even when their antennae were completely removed. Fed and unfed bed bugs were tested both individually and in groups to determine their attraction towards aggregation cues. Both fed and unfed bed bugs, regardless of sex, were significantly attracted to feces of conspecifics and exuvia of fifth instars. Finally, bed bugs were observed throughout the night to document their circadian activities after successfully taking a blood meal or failing to take a blood meal. Unfed bed bugs continued to search for a host throughout the night until aggregating together 2 hours prior to photophase. Alternatively, fed bed bugs immediately aggregated together within 30 minutes of a bloodmeal.
- Masters Theses