Journal article

Alarm pheromones and chemical communication in nymphs of the tropical bed bug Cimex hemipterus (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)

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Author list: HEDENSTRÖM E, WALLIN E, WALLIN E, HEDENSTRÖM E

Publication year: 2011

Start page: e18156

ISSN: 1932-6203

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018156

View additional information: View in Web of Science


Abstract

The recent resurge of bed bug infestations (Cimex spp.; Cimicidae) and their resistance to commonly used pesticides calls for alternative methods of control. Pheromones play an important role in environmentally sustainable methods for the management of many pest insects and may therefore be applicable for the control of bed bugs. The tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus, is a temporary ectoparasite on humans and causes severe discomfort. Compared to the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, little is known about the chemical signalling and pheromone-based behaviour of the tropical species. Here, we show that the antennal morphology and volatile emission of C. hemipterus closely resembles those of C. lectularius and we test their behavioural responses to conspecific odour emissions. Two major volatiles are emitted by male, female and nymph C. hemipterus under stress, (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-octenal. Notably, nymph emissions show contrasting ratios of these compounds to adults and are further characterized by the addition of 4-oxo-(E)-2-hexenal and 4-oxo-(E)-2-octenal. The discovery of this nymph pheromone in C. hemipterus is potentially the cause of a repellent effect observed in the biotests, where nymph odours induce a significantly stronger repellent reaction in conspecifics than adult odours. Our results suggest that pheromone-based pest control methods developed for C. lectularius could be applicable to C. hemipterus, with the unique nymph blend showing promising practical properties.


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