Comparative Efficacy of Superheated Dry Steam Application and Insecticide Spray Against Common Bed Bugs Under Simulated Field Conditions

Since the late 1990s, the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), has once again become a common urban pest in the U.S. and many other countries (Meek 2003Potter 2006Potter et al. 2015Wang et al. 2016aDoggett et al. 2018). An inspection of 2,372 low-income apartment units in four New Jersey cities found that infestation rates ranged from 3.8 to 29.5% among 43 buildings (Wang et al. 2016a). Bed bug bites can cause pain, various cutaneous reactions, loss of sleep, and mental distress (Goddard and deShazo 2009Susser et al. 2012) and are considered challenging urban pests to control due to their widespread insecticide resistance, their hiding behavior, and small size (Romero et al. 2007Yoon et al. 2008Zhu et al. 2010Adelman et al. 2011Gordon et al. 2014Romero and Anderson 2016). Compared to German cockroaches (Blattella germanica L.), which can be effectively controlled by the application of gel baits (Appel and Rust 2021), there is not a comparable insecticide that is both highly effective against bed bugs and can be applied to all areas where bed bugs hide nor that capitalizes on the foraging and feeding behavior, as baits do with cockroaches. Eliminating bed bug infestations usually requires a combination of several methods and multiple services. It often involves the need to overcome challenges in eliminating bed bugs within harborages associated with complex furniture (i.e., upholstered furniture). The median number of services using insecticide-based treatment programs and heat-based treatment programs to control bed bugs was 2.6 and 1.3, respectively (Potter et al. 2015).

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Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 116, Issue 1, February 2023, Pages 12–18.
Published: 24 May 2022

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