Pest management strategies for bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) in multiunit housing: A literature review on field studies

A. Romero, A. M. Sutherland, D. H. Gouge, H. Spafford, S. Nair, V. Lewis, D. H. Choe, S. Li, D. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) continue to increase as serious pests in the built environment. These insects are particularly problematic in low-income multiunit housing buildings, where infestations are difficult to control, tend to become chronic, and the locations serve as reservoirs from which bed bugs disperse. This document reviews and reports on published accounts and validations of various methods to detect and manage bed bugs in these urban settings. The analysis demonstrates that programs using IPM approaches for bed bug management can lead to significant reductions in bed bug incidence and density when compared with insecticidereliant approaches. However, total elimination of bed bugs in multiunit environments remains a challenge and is often reported as unattainable, raising concerns about the effectiveness of strategies for bed bug management used in these environments. Several factors may contribute to the persistence of bed bugs in low-income, multiunit housing situations, including lack of awareness and education of residents and staff about bed bugs, overall building infestation levels, resident lifestyles, reluctance to report infestations, resident abilities to undertake unit preparation required by some pest management companies, and low efficacy of insecticide treatments. Although community-wide and proactive bed bug management programs are shown to be more effective, sustainable, and economically viable in the long term than reactive and insecticide-only programs, general adoption of best practices may be impeded by budget limitations and interest of affordable multiunit housing providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Integrated Pest Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Bed bug
  • Cimex lectularius
  • IPM
  • Multiunit housing
  • Urban pest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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