Effect of steam treatment on feeding, mating, and fecundity of the common bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)

Desen Wang, Changlu Wang, Chen Zha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Steam application is an effective and environmentally friendly method for controlling bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). While a few studies documented the bed bug control efficacy of steam treatment, the sublethal effect of steam treatment on bed bug behavior and female fecundity is unknown. In this study, we evaluated the effect of steam treatment on the movement, feeding, mating behavior, and fecundity of female bed bugs in the laboratory. Bed bug adults received a calibrated steam treatment that caused approximately 28% mortality. The surviving bed bugs were observed for their feeding and mating behavior at 1 d posttreatment, female fecundity during a 7-d observation period, and offspring hatching. Steam-treated bed bugs were less active based on the percentage of bed bugs with movement, moving distance during a 10-min observation period, and feeding rate. However, steam treatment had no significant effect on blood intake (amount of blood taken per meal) among the fed bed bugs. After blood feeding, the steam-treated bed bugs had similar mating events and egg production as the control bed bugs. Furthermore, parental steam exposure had no significant effect on the offspring hatching. In conclusion, steam treatment could temporarily decrease bed bug activity levels and feeding rate, but had no significant impact on bed bug mating behavior and female fecundity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1536-1541
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of medical entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 25 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


  • Bed bug
  • Behavior
  • Fecundity
  • Steam treatment
  • Sublethal effect


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