Early evidence of establishment of the tropical bedbug (Cimex hemipterus) in Central Europe

Med Vet Entomol. 2021 Sep;35(3):462-467. doi: 10.1111/mve.12522. Epub 2021 May 4.


In recent decades, the world has witnessed a remarkable resurgence of bedbugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Although populations of the common bedbug, Cimex lectularius L., expanded in temperate regions of its original distribution, the tropical bedbug, C. hemipterus (F.), increased its abundance in warmer regions, where it also had been historically distributed. However, C. hemipterus has recently been observed to be expanding to other areas, e.g. North Australia, Middle East, the United States and Russia. In other parts of Europe, few sporadic and ephemeral introductions of C. hemipterus were recorded until recently. We conducted an extensive sampling of European bedbug populations starting in 2002 and found that C. hemipterus has recently become locally established. Among 566 examined infestations, nearly all of which involved C. lectularius, C. hemipterus occurred in six infestations collected since 2019. In at least three cases, the social background of inhabitants of the infested properties indicated that tropical bedbugs likely spread within local communities. Using cytochrome oxidase subunit I, we linked five of the infestations to the most common haplotype found globally, and one to an African haplotype. In all infestations, we observed two kdr-associated mutations in the sodium channel gene, which are also commonly found across the world.

Keywords: Cytochrome oxidase subunit I; human ectoparasite; insecticide resistance; invasion; kdr; mitochondrial network; pest control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bedbugs*
  • Ectoparasitic Infestations* / epidemiology
  • Ectoparasitic Infestations* / veterinary
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Mutation