Cimicidae — noun wingless flat bodied bloodsucking insects • Syn: ↑family Cimicidae • Hypernyms: ↑arthropod family • Member Holonyms: ↑Hemiptera, ↑order Hemiptera • Member Meronyms: ↑ … Useful english dictionary

Cimicidae — Ci·mic·i·dae sī mis ə .dē, sə n pl a small family of flat bodied wingless bloodsucking bugs of the order Hemiptera including the bedbug and some pests of birds and bats * * * Ci·mic·i·dae (si misґĭ de) a family of wingless, blood sucking,… … Medical dictionary

cimicidae — ci·mic·i·dae … English syllables

family Cimicidae — noun wingless flat bodied bloodsucking insects • Syn: ↑Cimicidae • Hypernyms: ↑arthropod family • Member Holonyms: ↑Hemiptera, ↑order Hemiptera • Member Meronyms: ↑ … Useful english dictionary

Bed bug control techniques — Cimicidae or bed bugs (sometimes bedbugs), are small parasitic insects.The term usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood. Early detection and treatment are therefore critical in success of control. According to a survey, the… … Wikipedia

κιμηκίδες — (cimicidae). Οικογένεια άπτερων εντόμων της υπόταξης των ετεροπτέρων. Πρόκειται για εκτοπαράσιτα, τα οποία συνήθως συναντώνται κοντά σε φωλιές και τρέφονται με το αίμα θηλαστικών και πουλιών. Ωστόσο, δεν διαβιούν επάνω στους ξενιστές τους, αλλά… … Dictionary of Greek

Bed bug — Cimex lectularius Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia … Wikipedia

Cimex lectularius —   Chinche Cimex lectularius … Wikipedia Español

heteropteran — ▪ insect order Introduction any member of the insect order Heteroptera, which comprises the so called true bugs. (Some authorities use the name Hemiptera; others consider both the heteropterans and the homopterans to be suborders of the… … Universalium

Bedbug — Taxobox name = Bedbug image width = 250px image caption = Cimex lectularius regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda classis = Insecta ordo = Hemiptera subordo = Heteroptera familia = Cimicidae familia authority = Kirkaldy, 1909 subdivision ranks =… … Wikipedia

Bed Bugs and Bat Bugs

Mariano Cáceres , . Claudia V. Vassena , in Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences , 2020


Bed bugs ( Cimicidae ) and Bat bugs (Polyctenidae) are the common names of two insect families belonging to the suborder Cimicomorpha (Hemiptera), in which both are entirely composed by hematophagous-obligated ectoparasites of homoeothermic vertebrates ( Henry, 2009 ).

The family Polyctenidae Westwood is a small group comprised of 32 species and five genera of insects that are obligate and permanent parasites living in bats (Chiroptera). There is only one genus, Hesperoctenes Kirkaldy, represented in the Neotropical region and the other taxa are distributed among the biogeographic regions in the Old World ( Autino et al., 2009 ; Henry, 2009 ). Polyctenidae members have a narrow host-specificity among bat families but some evidence suggested they could easily colonize a new host when dispersal barriers were removed ( Dick et al., 2009 ). The knowledge of bat bugs is poorly represented in published literature in comparison with other insect taxa that live on bats and this is also reflected by their scarce presence in museum collections, taxonomic descriptions and experimental studies ( Henry, 2009 ; Amarga and Yap, 2017 ).

On the order hand, the family Cimicidae Latreille (Hemiptera) is composed of 110 species of temporary ectoparasites that feed on birds, bats, and humans ( Krinsky, 2019 ). There are only three species of cimicids that live in close association with humans: Cimex lectularius Linnaeus 1758, Cimex hemipterus Fabricius 1803 and Leptocimex boueti Brumpt 1910 ( Henry, 2009 ). Although these species are often described as human parasites, they have a wide range of hosts, which includes bats and birds as well. The geographical distribution of these species is very wide. C. lectularius is cosmopolitan and prefers temperate climates, whereas C. hemipterus is distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and L. boueti is restricted to tropical areas of West Africa ( Usinger, 1966 ).

Many other bed bug species can feed on humans in opportunistic host-parasite interaction. For instance, the swallow bugs Oeciacus hirundinis Jennyns 1839, O. vicarious Horvath 1912, the species that parasitize bats such as C. adjunctus Barber 1939, C. pipistrelli Jennyns 1839, C. pilosellus Horvath 1910, and the chicken bug Haematosiphon inodorus Duges 1892 are some examples of cimicids that can feed on humans as a result of the changes in their natural host or the environmental conditions ( Usinger, 1966 ). Since multiple species of Cimicidae can inhabit the human household, accurate identification is crucial to the application of pest control practices ( Usinger, 1966 ; Wawrocka et al., 2015 ; DeVries et al., 2017 ). It is worth mentioning that the common name of cimicid species is often formed by the name of their host (e.g., swallow or bat bugs). Herein the common name bat bug is only used to refer to Polyctenidae taxon.

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Bedbug, (family Cimicidae), any of about 75 species of insects in the true bug order, Heteroptera, that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. The reddish brown adult is broad and flat and 4 to 5 mm (less than 0.2 inch) long. The greatly atrophied scalelike vestigial wings are inconspicuous and nonfunctioning. The distinctive oily odour of bedbugs results from a secretion of the scent, or stink, glands. Each female lays an average of 200 or more eggs during a single reproductive period, and three or more generations may be produced in a year.

Bedbugs are among the most cosmopolitan of human parasites. They are found in every kind of dwelling place, hiding during the day and coming out at night to feed. After feeding, they retreat to their hiding place to digest the meal, which may require several days. Adult specimens have lived for at least a year without food. Although the bedbug has an irritating bite, it is not known to transmit diseases to humans.

Cimex lectularius, which occurs in temperate regions, and C. hemipterus, which is common in the tropics, attach to humans. The species C. pilosellus lives on bats and, although known as a bat bug, will bite humans and is sometimes found living in human dwellings. Species of Oeciacus live on swallows and martins; members of Cimexopsis nyctalis live on chimney swifts; and those of Haematosiphon inodora live on poultry. Bedbugs of the latter species have been known to feed on humans and pigs as well.

This article was most recently revised and updated by John P. Rafferty, Editor.



In four families of Cimicoidea, i.e., Cimicidae , Polyctenidae, Anthocoridae, and Nabidae, peculiar conditions of mating and insemination are found. Courtship behavior is very rudimentary; larvae, males and females, even of other species, may be subject to copulation attempts. Traumatic insemination is observed, sperm being injected outside the female genital apparatus, and often in the haemocoel. In the resulting condition of spermathemia, the spermatozoids find their way to the ovarioles which are penetrated from the outside.

In Alloeorhynchus, Prostemma, and Pagasa (Nabidae), injection takes place through the female genital wall, which may be provided with a diverticulum in which sperm is received (Spermalege) ( Carayon, 1952a , b ).

In the primitive Primicimex cavernius, and in some Anthocoridae, the abdominal integument is perforated in predestined regions. In some Anthocoridae, the underlying region is provided with a mesodermal “mesospermalege” ( Carayon, 1964 ) composed of prohemocytes.

In Cimicidae, an ectodermal spermalege is formed at the adult molt, and situated at the dorsal or ventral side of the abdomen, according to the species. This ectospermalege is developed in both males and females and homosexual inseminations apparently occur, e.g., in Afrocimex ( Carayon, 1959 ).

Only in females a mesospermalege is formed underlying the ectospermalege. The resulting complex spermalege varies greatly between species. In Cimex lectularius, its function has been described by Cragg (1915) . Sperm is injected through the ectospermalege into the mesospermalege, the cells of which phagocyte the seminal fluid and part of the spermatozoids. The common oviduct is provided with two seminal conceptacles, in which the remaining sperm is collected within a few hours. It subsequently ascends into the ovarioles ( Fig. 34 ). In many Cimicidae, a strand of tissue develops between the mesospermalege and the ovary and the spermatozoids, into which the spermatozoa take their course to the ovary ( Carayon, 1970 ).

Fig. 34 . Schematic drawing of the pathways of spermatozoa upon traumatic insemination in Cimex. Deposited through the ectospermalege into the Ribaga organ (mesospermalege), the spermatozoa take their course through the hemolymph to the seminal conceptacles which they penetrate through their wall. c, copulation scars;, syncytial body, l.c., conducting lobe; o.c., common oviduct; ov., ovarioles; si., incision showing normal course of male paramere; v, vagina; cs., seminal concepticle; es., ectospermalege; ms., mesospermalege; o.m., mesodermal oviduct; pd, pedicels.

(from Carayon, 1970 ) Copyright © 1970

In Polyctenidae, females may be fertilized when still in the last larval instar ( Carayon, 1964 ).

The Animal Diversity Web team is excited to announce ADW Pocket Guides!


  • Kingdom Animalia animals

Related Taxa

  • Species Cimex hemipterus tropical bedbug

To cite this page: Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2021. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed at

Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. ADW doesn’t cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control.

    | U-M Museum of Zoology
  • © 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan / Comment

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grants DRL 0089283, DRL 0628151, DUE 0633095, DRL 0918590, and DUE 1122742. Additional support has come from the Marisla Foundation, UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Museum of Zoology, and Information and Technology Services.

Monitoring insecticide resistance

Over the last few years, there have been many reports of insecticide resistance in bed bugs worldwide. Monitoring insecticide resistance status and resistance mechanisms in bed bugs is a proactive and essential approach to determine proper insecticide usage and to provide early warning for the need to modify chemical control strategies. Numerous studies on the methods of detecting and documenting insecticide resistance in pest populations have been evaluated. The three major methods of monitoring insecticide resistance are (i) conventional toxicity bioassays, (ii) biochemical assays, and (iii) molecular assays (Table 6).

Conventional toxicity bioassays

The standard bioassay that is routinely used to detect insecticide resistance involves collecting insects from the field and rearing them until sufficient numbers are available for testing. Mortality of nymphs or adults is then assessed after exposure to a range of doses of an insecticide. Subsequently, the LD50, LC50 or LT50 values are determined using probit analysis. The results from field populations are then compared with those from a susceptible population, and a resistance ratio is calculated to estimate the susceptibility of field populations. The susceptibility of recent collected bed bugs to major insecticide classes (such as pyrethroids, OPs, carbamates, and neonicotinoids) have been evaluated using bioassays (Table 7) [30, 44, 48, 53, 64].

However, bioassays can be difficult to undertake. Normally this method requires a relatively large number of live bed bugs for the test, and obtaining such numbers is not always possible, especially when the number of bed bugs collected from field infestations can be relatively small [17, 162]. In addition, a standard susceptible strain is required for comparison, but many organisations do not have access to such a strain. A few susceptible C. lectularius strains are maintained in laboratories around the world, such as the Ft. Dix strain (= Harlan strain, established in 1973) [30, 113], FL-BB strain (early 1990s) [30, 136], LA-1 strain (2006) [30, 90], UBA strain of the Federal Environment Agency (since 1947) [159], and Monheim (Germany) strain (late 1960s) [53], but to date, no susceptible C. hemipterus strain is available. Other traditional bioassays, such as the use of discriminating concentrations which are based on previous studies on the dose–response curves of susceptible strains, could be an alternative option [16, 39], if there is no susceptible strain or sufficient number of live bed bugs available for testing. However, a single discriminating dose could only indicate whether resistance is present, but not the degree of resistance.

Most insecticide resistance monitoring depends on traditional bioassays, which use a fixed insecticide concentration (e.g. discriminating/diagnostic concentration) for a pre-determined exposure time in a chamber or on a filter paper impregnated with insecticides. The results are reported as percentage mortality and/or knockdown effect. For example, the diagnostic concentration (or WHO susceptibility test kit) defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) (e.g. twice the concentration/dosage that kills 100% of the susceptible insect strain) is widely used to determine the susceptibility or resistance to major classes of insecticides in mosquito vectors [38, 39]. Several studies have investigated bed bug resistance using this method (Table 7). Myamba et al. [55] adapted the WHO mosquito test kit [199] to detect pyrethroid resistance in C. hemipterus in Tanzania. Karunaratne et al. [56] also adapted the WHO method [39] to determine resistance to several insecticides in C. hemipterus in Sri Lanka. Tawatsin et al. [12] examined the insecticide resistance of both C. lectularius and C. hemipterus in Thailand using the WHO test kit [200].

Similar to the WHO methods, many studies established the baseline susceptibility data (e.g. LC99/LD99) for insecticides that results in 99% or more mortality of susceptible bed bug strain(s) (Table 7) [30, 47, 53, 201, 202]. These data can serve as guidelines for selecting discriminating concentrations to screen for bed bug resistance to insecticides, even in the absence of a susceptible strain. For example, Boase et al. [47] established two different discriminating concentrations that produced 99% mortality in three susceptible C. lectularius strains in the United Kingdom to detect resistance to bendiocarb (carbamates) and alpha-cypermethrin (pyrethroids), respectively. Romero et al. [30] used a discriminating concentration (10-fold greater than the labelled rate of active ingredient in the commercial product and nearly 30-fold the dose required to kill 100% of the susceptible Ft. Dix C. lectularius strain) to evaluate resistance to deltamethrin in third-to-fifth instar C. lectularius of 10 field-collected populations. Zhu et al. [157] also used this discriminating concentration to assess resistance to pyrethroids in 17 C. lectularius populations. Kilpinen et al. [53] determined the C. lectularius resistance to permethrin by the discriminating concentration of 1.6-fold LD99 and chlorpyrifos by the concentration of 2-fold LD99, respectively. However, if the discriminating concentrations used are excessively high, this could potentially mask the detection of resistance, especially when the resistance level is still relatively low. Early detection of resistance is only possible if the diagnostic concentration is low enough (or a dose response curve undertaken). Otherwise, resistance could only be discovered after widespread field control failures are reported.

Once the resistance status is determined, the resistance mechanisms should next be characterized. A rapid and simple bioassay in combination with synergists could be used to detect some metabolic resistance mechanisms. Synergists serve as enzyme inhibitors of metabolic detoxification enzymes such as esterases, P450s, and GSTs (Table 8). Bioassays incorporating synergists have been used widely to detect the role of different resistance mechanisms in many insect pests. For example, synergists, such as PBO, have been incorporated in the control of bed bugs, and to detect potential resistance mechanisms [127–129, 136]. However, not all resistance mechanisms could be characterized using synergists. Therefore, biochemical assays and molecular assays must be employed along with insecticide bioassays to detect the specific resistance mechanisms (Tables 6, and 9).

Biochemical assays

Biochemical assays use model substrates to detect elevated activity of metabolic enzymes involved in insecticide resistance in individual insects. Over the last two decades, biochemical assays have been used successfully to detect and monitor insecticide resistance in numerous insects [203] especially in combination with insecticide bioassay. Karunaratne et al. [56] surveyed insecticide resistance and potential resistance mechanisms in Sri Lankan C. hemipterus based on toxicity bioassays [36, 39] and biochemical assays [203]. They found that C. hemipterus showed high levels of resistance to DDT and malathion, and detected elevated levels of GSTs and esterases as well. Yoon et al. [156] used biochemical assays to identify resistance mechanisms responsible for deltamethrin resistance in a New York C. lectularius strain, although there were no differences in the activity of the enzymes evaluated. Adelman et al. [113] also used biochemical assays to detect the differential activity of detoxification enzymes, which suggested that metabolic resistance probably was associated with pyrethroid resistance in C. lectularius. Romero & Anderson [64] evaluated the activities of metabolic detoxification enzymes (P450s, GSTs, and esterases) in C. lectularius using biochemical assays. They found that metabolic resistance is probably involved in resistance to neonicotinoids. However, it is important to clarify that the presence of elevated levels of enzymes alone is not a direct evidence to demonstrate their involvements as resistance mechanisms, unless it could be shown through in vivo metabolism and/or synergism studies that these enzymes were involved [105].

Leave a Reply