Recent Documentation of the Tropical Bed Bug in Florida Since the Common Bed Bug Resurgence

October 11, 2016 | NPMA

Do you know how to identify the physical difference between a common bed bug and a tropical bed bug? Common bed bugs have rounded prothorax regions near the eye while tropical bed bugs have squared, deeper prothorax close to the eye.

Researchers at the University of Florida have identified a bed bug sample collected from Brevard County, Florida as the tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus. This species appears very similar to the closely related common bed bug (C. lectularius), making it difficult to differentiate between the two species. Much like the common bed bug, the tropical bed bug also feeds on blood and has been a pest of humans throughout recorded history.

Florida experiences the warmer conditions preferred by tropical bed bugs, but this is the first documentation of this species in the state since the 1940’s. Given the challenges in differentiating between the two species, researchers suggest that this sample could have originated from a population of tropical bed bugs that has gone overlooked. There is currently a lack of information on the ecology, biology, and insecticide resistance of tropical bed bugs.

The possibility of a lesser known bed bug species in Florida could present unique management challenges to the pest control industry. Although, finding a single specimen does not yet confirm that a population of tropical bed bugs is established in Florida. More information on this discovery in the original article can be found here.