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Some Bed Bugs Can Traipse Out of Traps

Researchers find one tropical type that climbs its way to freedom

WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- They may need to build a better bed bug trap.

That might be the point of a new study that finds some types of bed bugs are better climbers than others, and can easily get out of traps.

Researchers looked at a tropical bed bug called Cimex hemipterus and a bed bug more commonly found in the United States called Cimex lectularius and examined their ability to climb out of four different smooth-walled pitfall traps that are made in the United States.

Adult C. lectularius could not escape the traps, but adult C. hemipterus used small pads on their legs to grip the surface of the trap and climb the inner wall, according to the study published March 15 in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

The findings have "profound implications in the monitoring and potential management of bed bug infestations," study co-author Chow-Yang Lee, a professor of entomology at the University of Science, Malaysia in Penang, said in a journal news release.

C. lectularius is more common in temperate regions, and C. hemipterus is more common in tropical regions. But, the two species often co-exist in regions such as Florida, Africa, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and southern China, the researchers said.

"Unfortunately, due to their close resemblance, most pest management professionals are unable to tell between C. lectularius and C. hemipterus," Lee said.

"Hence, if some of the pitfall traps used in this study, which otherwise could effectively contain C. lectularius, were used during the monitoring process, they would not be able to contain C. hemipterus, which may give a false impression that the monitored premises are free of bed bugs or having a low infestation rate," Lee explained.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on bed bugs.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of Economic Entomology, news release, March 15, 2017

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