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

Rodrigo Soares Ramos, Richard Cooper, Tirthankar Dasgupta, Nicole E. Pashley, Changlu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., is a difficult urban pest to control. A simulated field study was conducted to compare the efficacy of steam application and an insecticide mixture spray (0.05% acetamiprid and 0.06% bifenthrin mixture) against C. lectularius. Three types of furniture (desk chair, upholstered armchair, and wooden table) were treated in the laboratory. The efficacy of the treatments was evaluated by visual inspection and placement of interceptor traps under the legs of the furniture. One hundred mixed stages of an insecticide-resistant population of C. lectularius were released onto each furniture item. After a 10-day acclimation period, each furniture item received steam treatment, insecticide spray, or no treatment. The second application of treatment was conducted 14 d later. Bed bug counts from interceptors and visual inspections were recorded at 13 d and 28 d after the initial treatment. At 28 d, the mean (± SE) live bed bug count in the steam, spray, and control group was 1 ± 0, 2 ± 1, and 83 ± 10, respectively. Both treatment methods were highly effective in controlling bed bugs on furniture. The mean bed bug count from interceptors in the steam, spray, and control groups were 0.3 ± 0.2, 11 ± 7, and 47 ± 9, respectively. There was no significant difference in the efficacy between steam and spray treatments based on either visual inspection or bed bug counts from interceptors. However, based on interceptor counts, the steam treatment caused faster bed bug population reduction than insecticide sprays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


  • bed bug
  • control
  • insecticide spray
  • steam application


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