Repulsive smell could combat bed bugs

Bed bugs are an increasingly common pest that necessitates extensive decontamination of homes. However, researchers from Lund and Sundsvall in Sweden have now discovered that young bed bugs produce a smell that repels other bed bugs. It is hoped that these findings could contribute to more effective control of the blood-sucking insects.

In recent years, bed bug infestations have become increasingly common in Swedish homes. There are two different species of bed bug that suck blood from humans – the common bed bug and the tropical bed bug. Increased foreign travel has meant that tropical bed bugs frequently accompany travellers to Sweden.

A team of researchers from Lund University and Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall have now identified and quantified a type of smell that bed bugs produce, known as alarm pheromones. The researchers have studied these smells in both adult bed bugs and nymphs (immature bed bugs). The research team observed that the smells given off by the two species are surprisingly similar. Moreover, nymphs give off a different smell from adult bed bugs.

Behavioural tests show that the nymphs’ smell is repulsive to both adult individuals and other nymphs. The researchers believe that this repellent effect could be used in control systems where alarm pheromones make the bed bugs more mobile and therefore increase the effectiveness of drying agents to kill them. However, this type of possible environmentally friendly control method requires greater understanding of how bed bugs’ pheromone system works.

The research results are presented in the latest issue of the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

For more information, please contact:

Camilla Ryne, [email protected], tel +46 736 13 00 43 or  Jette Knudsen, [email protected], tel +46 730 20 60 23

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5 thoughts on “Repulsive smell could combat bed bugs”

  1. I have been bit and it left scars! Luckily it was on my leg, I can’t imagine people that scar and get bit on the neck or face. These bed bugs are so terrible. We are working on a new device to help trap them and it works well in conjunction with all other methods.

    It is possible to get rid of bed bugs on your own. I know because I did it. We didn’t use any dust or chemicals but I am sure it would of helped make the process easier. It is after all a tenuous process and you can NOT cut any corners.
    We wrote about our experience, wrote a lot, at

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