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New technology decodes chemical messages sent by bed bugs

Date:
December 5, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Bed bugs exchange specific chemical signals corresponding to particular behaviors, and researchers have now combined two unusual technologies to sniff out these signals in a matter of seconds.

Bed bugs exchange specific chemical signals corresponding to particular behaviors, and researchers have now combined two unusual technologies to sniff out these signals in a matter of seconds.

The results are published Dec. 5 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Ole Kilpinen and colleagues from Aarhus University, Denmark, and reveal previously unknown aspects of bed bug lifestyles and mating behaviors.

Previous studies of bedbug chemical signals have been based on the collection and analysis of volatile chemicals they secrete over a period of time.

In this new research, the authors tracked the changes in secreted volatile compounds using video imaging and improved gas analyzers, and found distinct increases in different chemicals depending on the bugs' activity. For example, they found that two compounds were emitted as defense from unwanted mating attempts by both female and male bugs.

They also found large variations in the chemicals secreted by the bugs in individual emissions, which the authors suggest emphasizes the need for such real-time tracking technology rather than testing samples collected over long periods of time.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ole Kilpinen, Dezhao Liu, Anders Peter S. Adamsen. Real-Time Measurement of Volatile Chemicals Released by Bed Bugs during Mating Activities. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (12): e50981 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050981

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New technology decodes chemical messages sent by bed bugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205200053.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, December 5). New technology decodes chemical messages sent by bed bugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205200053.htm
Public Library of Science. "New technology decodes chemical messages sent by bed bugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205200053.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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