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Concept: Heteroptera


MIRID PLANT BUGS (HEMIPTERA: Miridae) are economically important insect pests of many crops worldwide. The western tarnished plant bug Lygus hesperus Knight is a pest of cotton, alfalfa, fruit and vegetable crops, and potentially of several emerging biofuel and natural product feedstocks in the western US. However, little is known about the underlying molecular genetics, biochemistry, or physiology of L. hesperus, including their ability to survive extreme environmental conditions.

Concepts: Agriculture, Molecular biology, Biology, Insect, Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Lygus, Miridae


Apolygus lucorum (Meyer-Dür) (Hemiptera: Miridae) is one of the most important herbivores in a broad range of cultivated plants, including cotton, cereals, vegetables, and fruit crops in China. In this manuscript, we report on a 6-year long study in which (adult) A. lucorum abundance was recorded on 174 plant species from 39 families from early July to mid-September. Through the study period per year, the proportion of flowering plants exploited by adult A. lucorum was significantly greater than that of non-flowering plants. For a given plant species, A. lucorum adults reached peak abundance at the flowering stage, when the plant had the greatest attraction to the adults. More specifically, mean adult abundance on 26 species of major host plants and their relative standard attraction were 10.3-28.9 times and 9.3-19.5 times higher at flowering stage than during non-flowering periods, respectively. Among all the tested species, A. lucorum adults switched food plants according to the succession of flowering plant species. In early July, A. lucorum adults preferred some plant species in bloom, such as Vigna radiata, Gossypium hirsutum, Helianthus annuus and Chrysanthemum coronarium; since late July, adults dispersed into other flowering hosts (e.g. Ricinus communis, Impatiens balsamina, Humulus scandens, Ocimum basilicum, Agastache rugosus and Coriandrum sativum); in early September, they largely migrated to flowering Artemisia spp. (e.g. A. argyi, A. lavandulaefolia, A. annua and A. scoparia). Our findings underscore the important role of flowering plays in the population dynamics and inter-plant migration of this mirid bug. Also, our work helps understand evolutionary aspects of host plant use in polyphagous insects such as A. lucorum, and provides baseline information for the development of sustainable management strategies of this key agricultural pest.

Concepts: Plant, Annual plant, Fern, Euphorbiaceae, Flowering plant, Flower, Oak, Heteroptera


Thickening of the integument as a mechanism of resistance to insecticides is a well recognised phenomenon in the insect world and, in recent times, has been found in insects exhibiting pyrethroid-resistance. Resistance to pyrethroid insecticides in the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., is widespread and has been frequently inferred as a reason for the pest’s resurgence. Overexpression of cuticle depositing proteins has been demonstrated in pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs although, to date, no morphological analysis of the cuticle has been undertaken in order to confirm a phenotypic link. This paper describes examination of the cuticle thickness of a highly pyrethroid-resistant field strain collected in Sydney, Australia, in response to time-to-knockdown upon forced exposure to a pyrethroid insecticide. Mean cuticle thickness was positively correlated to time-to-knockdown, with significant differences observed between bugs knocked-down at 2 hours, 4 hours, and those still unaffected at 24 hours. Further analysis also demonstrated that the 24 hours survivors possessed a statistically significantly thicker cuticle when compared to a pyrethroid-susceptible strain of C. lectularius. This study demonstrates that cuticle thickening is present within a pyrethroid-resistant strain of C. lectularius and that, even within a stable resistant strain, cuticle thickness will vary according to time-to-knockdown upon exposure to an insecticide. This response should thus be considered in future studies on the cuticle of insecticide-resistant bed bugs and, potentially, other insects.

Concepts: Hemiptera, Pyrethroid, Deltamethrin, Bedbug, Heteroptera, Cimex lectularius, Cimex, Masked hunter


Behavioral bioassays were conducted to determine whether bed bug adults and nymphs prefer specific colored harborages. Two-choice and seven-choice behavioral color assays indicate that red (28.5%) and black (23.4%) harborages are optimal harborage choices for bed bugs. Yellow and green harborages appear to repel bed bugs. Harborage color preferences change according to gender, nutritional status, aggregation, and life stage. Female bed bugs prefer harborages with shorter wavelengths (lilac-14.5% and violet-11.5%) compared to males, whereas males prefer harborages with longer wavelengths (red-37.5% and black-32%) compared with females. The preference for orange and violet harborages is stronger when bed bugs are fed as opposed to when they are starved. Lone bed bugs (30%) prefer to be in black harborages while red harborages appear to be the optimum harborage color for bed bugs in more natural mixed aggregations (35.5%). Bed bug nymphs preferred different colored harborages at each stage of development, which is indicative of their developing eye structures and pigments. First instars showed no significant preference for any colored harborage soon after hatching. However, by the fifth instar, 27.5% of nymphs significantly preferred red and black harborages (which was a similar preference to adult bed bugs). The proportion of oviposited eggs was significantly greater under blue, red, and black harborages compared to other colored harborages tested. The use of visual cues such as specific colors offers great potential for improving bed bug monitoring tools by increasing trap captures.

Concepts: Color, Preference, Hemiptera, Bedbug, Traumatic insemination, Heteroptera, Cimex lectularius, Cimex


Heteropteran legs are very diverse within and among taxa, and such variation is frequently correlated with life habits. Structural modifications are commonly present in the legs of the Pentatomoidea but are poorly studied. Using scanning electron microscopy, the tibia and pretarsal microstructure of 82 species of Pentatomidae (Heteroptera), three species of Scutelleridae, and ten species of Thyreocoridae were described, focusing on the pretarsal structure, the foretibial apparatus, and the foretibial comb. The Pentatomidae, the Scutelleridae, and the Thyreocoridae have uniform pretarsal structures. Variation can be found in the length of the parempodial setae and in the shape of the parempodial projections. The foretibial combs of the Pentatomidae, the Thyreocoridae, and the Scutelleridae are described for the first time, and we have demonstrated that there is low structural variation in the foretibial comb complex of the studied species. The setae organization and distribution on the foretibial apparatus is uniform in the families studied. However, the Asopinae (Pentatomidae) bear a foretibial apparatus that is uniquely organized. The taxonomic and phylogenetic relevance of the pretarsal traits, the foretibial apparatus, and the foretibial comb are discussed.

Concepts: Electron, Species, Structure, Scanning electron microscope, Organization, Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Pentatomidae


Sticky plants-those having glandular trichomes (hairs) that produce adhesive, viscous exudates-can impede the movement of, and entrap, generalist insects. Disparate arthropod groups have adapted to these widespread and taxonomically diverse plants, yet their interactions with glandular hosts rarely are incorporated into broad ecological theory. Ecologists and entomologists might be unaware of even well-documented examples of insects that are sticky-plant specialists. The hemipteran family Miridae (more specifically, the omnivorous Dicyphini: Dicyphina) is the best-known group of arthropods that specializes on sticky plants. In the first synthesis of relationships with glandular plants for any insect family, we review mirid interactions with sticky hosts, including their adaptations (behavioral, morphological, and physiological) and mutualisms with carnivorous plants, and the ecological and agricultural implications of mirid-sticky plant systems. We propose that mirid research applies generally to tritrophic interactions on trichome-defended plants, enhances an understanding of insect-plant interactions, and provides information useful in managing crop pests.

Concepts: Insect, Arthropod, Animal, Hemiptera, Spider, Heteroptera, Gerridae, Miridae


Bed bugs (both Cimex hemipterus [F.] and Cimex lectularius L.) worldwide are highly resistant to the pyrethroids. An important resistance mechanism known as ‘knockdown resistance’ (kdr) is caused by genetic point mutations on the voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC) gene. Previous studies have identified two point mutations (V419L and L925I) on the VGSC gene in C. lectularius that are responsible for kdr-type resistance. However, the kdr mutations in C. hemipterus have not been investigated.

Concepts: Hemiptera, Deltamethrin, Bedbug, Heteroptera, Cimex lectularius, Cimex, Masked hunter


Pyrethroid resistance in the Common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. has been reported worldwide. An important resistant mechanism is via knockdown resistance (kdr) mutations, notably V419L and L925I. Information regarding this kdr-type resistant mechanism is unknown in Australia. This study aims to examine the status of kdr mutations in Australian C. lectularius strains.

Concepts: Hemiptera, Deltamethrin, Bedbug, Heteroptera, Cimex lectularius, Cimex, Masked hunter


The rapid increase of bed bug populations resistant to pyrethroids demands the development of novel control tactics. Products combining pyrethroids and neonicotinoids have become very popular for bed bug control in the United States, but there are concerns about evolution of resistance to these compounds. Laboratory assays were used to measure the toxicity of topical applications of four neonicotinoids to a susceptible population and three pyrethroid-resistant populations. Activity of esterases, glutathione S-transferases, and cytochrome P450s of all strains was also evaluated. High levels of resistance to four neonicotinoids, acetamiprid, imidacloprid, dinotefuran, and thiamethoxam, relative to the susceptible Fort Dix population, were detected in populations collected from human dwellings in Cincinnati and Michigan. Because activity of detoxifying enzymes was increased in these two populations, our results suggest that these enzymes have some involvement in neonicotinoid resistance, but other resistance mechanisms might be involved as well. Detection of high levels of resistance to neonicotinoids further limits the options for chemical control of bed bugs.

Concepts: Hemiptera, Insecticide, Deltamethrin, Bedbug, Heteroptera, Cimex lectularius, Cimex, Masked hunter


Insecticide resistance is a major impediment for effective control of Cimex lectularius L. Previous resistance detection studies with bed bugs have focused on certain pyrethroid, neonicotinoid, organochlorine, organophosphate, and carbamate insecticides. Within the pyrethroid class, resistance studies have mostly been limited to deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, and alpha- and beta-cyfluthrin. The goal of this study was to develop diagnostic concentration bioassays for assessing bed bug susceptibility levels to chlorfenapyr- and bifenthrin-containing products. First, glass vial and filter paper bioassay methods were compared for their utility in susceptibility monitoring. Statistical comparison of toxicity data between bioassays indicated that the vial assay was less confounded by assay susbtrate effects, required less insecticide, and was faster, especially for chlorfenapyr. Next, using vial diagnostic concentrations (LC99) for each insecticide, 10 laboratory-adapted field strains and the Harlan lab-susceptible strain were screened for susceptibility to chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin. The results of this study reveal recent bed bug susceptibility levels to certain chlorfenapyr- and bifenthrin-containing products. Reduced susceptibility was detected in three and five field strains to chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin, respectively. Detection of reduced susceptibility suggests that certain strains may be segregating toward greater chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin resistance. These results merit continuous resistance monitoring efforts to detect chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin susceptibility shifts. Additionally, to reduce insecticide selection pressures and delay resistance development, adoption of integrated bed bug control strategies that combine chemical and nonchemical methods is recommended.

Concepts: Hemiptera, Insecticide, Deltamethrin, Bedbug, Heteroptera, Cimex lectularius, Cimex, Masked hunter