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1 May 2009 Addition of Alarm Pheromone Components Improves the Effectiveness of Desiccant Dusts Against Cimex lectularius
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Abstract

We demonstrate that the addition of bed bug, Cimex lectularius,, alarm pheromone to desiccant formulations greatly enhances their effectiveness during short-term exposure. Two desiccant formulations, diatomaceous earth (DE) and Dri-die (silica gel), were applied at the label rate with and without bed bug alarm pheromone components, (E)-2-hexenal, (E)-2-octenal, and a (E)-2-hexenal: (E)-2-octenal blend. First-instar nymphs and adult females were subjected to 10-min exposures, and water loss rates were used to evaluate the response. Optimal effectiveness was achieved with a pheromone concentration of 0.01 M. With Dri-die alone, the water loss was 21% higher than in untreated controls, and water loss increased nearly two times with (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-octenal and three times with the (E)-2-hexenal: (E)-2-octenal blend. This shortened survival of first-instar nymphs from 4 to 1 d, with a similar reduction noted in adult females. DE was effective only if supplemented with pheromone, resulting in a 50% increase in water loss over controls with the (E)-2-hexenal: (E)-2-octenal blend, and a survival decrease from 4 to 2 d in first-instar nymphs. Consistently, the addition of the pheromone blend to desiccant dust was more effective than adding either component by itself or by using Dri-die or DE alone. Based on observations in a small microhabitat, the addition of alarm pheromone components prompted bed bugs to leave their protective harborages and to move through the desiccant, improving the use of desiccants for control. We concluded that short exposure to Dri-die is a more effective treatment against bed bugs than DE and that the effectiveness of the desiccants can be further enhanced by incorporation of alarm pheromone. Presumably, the addition of alarm pheromone elevates excited crawling activity, thereby promoting cuticular changes that increase water loss.

© 2009 Entomological Society of America
Joshua B. Benoit, Seth A. Phillips, Travis J. Croxall, Brady S. Christensen, Jay A. Yoder, and David L. Denlinger "Addition of Alarm Pheromone Components Improves the Effectiveness of Desiccant Dusts Against Cimex lectularius," Journal of Medical Entomology 46(3), (1 May 2009). https://doi.org/10.1603/033.046.0323
Received: 23 August 2008; Accepted: 1 February 2009; Published: 1 May 2009
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