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Title: Systemic veterinary drugs for control of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, in poultry farms
Abstract Background

The common bed bug,CimexlectulariusL., is a hematophagous ectoparasite that was a common pest in poultry farms through the 1960s. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and organophosphates eradicated most infestations, but concurrent with their global resurgence as human ectoparasites, infestations of bed bugs have been reappearing in poultry farms. Although the impact of bed bugs on chicken health has not been quantified, frequent biting and blood-feeding are expected to cause stress, infections and even anemia in birds. Bed bug control options are limited due to the sensitive nature of the poultry environment, limited products labeled for bed bug control and resistance of bed bug populations to a broad spectrum of active ingredients. Veterinary drugs are commonly used to control endo- and ectoparasites in animals. In this study, we evaluated the effects of two common veterinary drugs on bed bugs by treating the host with systemic antiparasitic drugs.


We conducted dose–response studies of ivermectin and fluralaner against several bed bug strains using a membrane feeding system. Also, different doses of these drugs were given to chickens and two delivery methods (topical treatment and ingestion) were used to evaluate the efficacy of ivermectin and fluralaner on bed bug mortality.


Using an artificial feeding system, both more » ivermectin and fluralaner caused high mortality in insecticide-susceptible bed bugs, and fluralaner was found to be effective on pyrethroid- and fipronil-resistant bed bugs. Ivermectin was ineffective in chickens either by the topical treatment or ingestion, whereas bed bugs that fed on chickens which had ingested fluralaner suffered high mortality when feeding on these chickens for up to 28 days post treatment.


These findings suggest that systemic ectoparasitic drugs have great potential for practical use to control bed bug infestations in poultry farms. These findings also demonstrate the efficacy of fluralaner (and potentially other isoxazolines) as a potent new active ingredient for bed bug control.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Parasites & Vectors
Springer Science + Business Media
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract Background

    Bed bug infestations are re-emerging in the poultry industry throughout the USA. Although the impacts of bed bugs on birds’ health and welfare are poorly understood, adverse outcomes are expected, including stress, anemia, infections and lower production rates. Worker welfare is also an important consideration in commercial poultry farms. A limited number of insecticides are available for use in the complex spatial environment of commercial farms. Systemic drugs have the potential to overcome the limitations of existing pest management tactics. A recent study showed that fluralaner administered to chickens caused high levels of mortality in bed bugs.


    To further understand the efficacy of this approach, we evaluated the pharmacokinetics of an oral solid formulation of fluralaner in 11 chickens and quantified its plasma concentration in chickens using UPLC/MS. We administered fluralaner to chickens with two doses of Bravecto®(each 0.5 mg/kg body mass) via gavage 1 week apart and evaluated its efficacy on bed bugs that fed on medicated chickens for up to 28 days post-treatment.


    Bed bugs that fed on fluralaner-treated chickens experienced > 50% mortality within 30 min of the administration of Bravecto and 100% mortality 2 days post-treatment. Mortality slowly declined to 66.6% by day 28. Fluralaner was quantifiable in the hens’more »plasma for at least 28 days post-treatment. The treatment resulted in maximal plasma concentrations (Cmax) of 106.4 ng/ml around day 9.0 (Tmax), substantially higher than the LC90, the concentration needed to kill 90% of the bed bugs.


    Fluralaner appears to be a promising candidate for bed bug control in poultry farms, with a treatment effect lasting at least 28 days.

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  2. Abstract Background

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    The emergence of pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs in malaria-endemic communities may interfere with the effective use of pyrethroid-impregnated bed nets. We assessed the interactions of two bed bug strains with commonly used bed nets using two behavioral assays, namely host (blood meal)-seeking by unfed bed bugs and aggregation-seeking by freshly fed bed bugs. These assays assessed the passage of bed bugs through various bed nets in response to host cues and aggregation stimuli, respectively. Conditioned paper is a section of file folder paper that has been exposed to bed bugs and has been impregnated with feces and aggregation pheromone; it is attractive to aggregation-seeking fed bed bugs. An unconditioned ramp is a similar section of file folder paper that allows bed bugs to traverse the bed net and gain access to a blood-meal source.

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