Molecular markers reveal infestation dynamics of the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) within apartment buildings. Academic Article uri icon


  • The bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), has experienced an extraordinary global resurgence in recent years, the reasons for which remain poorly understood. Once considered a pest of lower socioeconomic classes, bed bugs are now found extensively across all residential settings, with widespread infestations established in multiapartment buildings. Within such buildings, understanding the population genetic structure and patterns of dispersal may prove critical to the development of effective control strategies. Here, we describe the development of 24 high-resolution microsatellite markers through next generation 454 pyrosequencing and their application to elucidate infestation dynamics within three multistory apartment buildings in the United States. Results reveal contrasting characteristics potentially representative of geographic or locale differences. In Raleigh, NC, an infestation within an apartment building seemed to have started from a single introduction followed by extensive spread. In Jersey City, NJ, two or more introductions followed by spread are evident in two buildings. Populations within single apartments in all buildings were characterized by high levels of relatedness and low levels of diversity, indicative of foundation from small, genetically depauperate propagules. Regardless of the number of unique introductions, genetic data indicate that spread within buildings is extensive, supporting both active and human-mediated dispersal within and between adjacent rooms or apartments spanning multiple floors.

published proceedings

  • J Med Entomol

author list (cited authors)

  • Booth, W., Saenz, V. L., Santangelo, R. G., Wang, C., Schal, C., & Vargo, E. L.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Booth, Warren||Saenz, Virna L||Santangelo, Richard G||Wang, Changlu||Schal, Coby||Vargo, Edward L

publication date

  • May 2012