New research out of UC Riverside has revealed that pheromones present in bed bug skins are responsible for attracting other bed bugs. The scientists studying bed bugs to learn more about their use of pheromones found four compounds in their shed skins that lead to the strong, sweet smell associated with bed bugs (and used by bed bug sniffing dogs).
Bed bugs release approximately ten pheromones that other bugs are attracted to. The amount and strength of the pheromones released varies over time, and the more concentrated presence of bed bugs in an area the more these pheromones are present. Bed bugs that live in one harborage for a long time leave the most pheromone presence. Scientists harvested the skins as they were shed from live bed bugs; to their dismay they found that they had to wait for them to naturally shed, as stunning the bed bugs caused them to naturally release high levels of the pheromones which would skew the results from what would be found in a wild infestation.
Smell of Shed Bed Bug Skins Attract More Bed Bugs
The researchers were able to determine that although bed bug skins contain numerous compounds these four pheromones are present no matter what age the bug was when it shed its’ skin. Even more interesting was the fact that although as the shed skins aged the compounds remained present, even after the skins were over 99 days old. While this alone is worth knowing the researchers are excited at possible pest control applications of the new discovery. Traps may be able to be created using these pheromones as lures for bed bugs.
As we’ve previously reported recent research has also revealed that bed bugs are more attracted to colors like red. It’s possible that could be combined with this new information on pheromone attraction and lead to the creation of even more effective traps. While these new results are still preliminary this is still a step in the right direction towards new, better methods of fighting bed bugs.