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Bed Bug Repellency Test

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Bed Bug Product Testing Services

Bed bug repellency test is designed to check whether a given repellent product can protect humans from bug biting as well as deter the bed bug infestations in personal belongings to provide a bug-free environment.

Bed bug repellency test aims to determine the efficacy and action of repellent products against certain bed bug strains. Bed bug repellent evaluation plays a critical role in implementation of robust pest control management practices. Efficacy testing helps manufacturers to understand the performance of products for their intended use and develop safe and effective repellent products.

Bed Bug Repellent Test Requirement

  • Test organisms: One field-collected strain of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius is used for the test.  
  • Bed bugs rearing: Field collected bed bug strains are reared (breeding and maintaining populations of bed bugs) in the controlled laboratory settings.
  • Sample size : The product samples should be in sufficient quantity to effectively evaluate the efficacy of the test sample and achieve the required accuracy and precision in results.
  • Replicates: The experiment is designed with five replicates of 10 bugs, and with an equal number of replicates for treated and control replicates is used for the study.

Bed Bug Repellency Testing Method (Repellents & Attractants)

No choice and choice tests are conducted to determine if pesticide product repels bed bugs.

Barrier test (No – choice test)

The barrier test is performed to evaluate the efficacy of repellents in creating a protective barrier that hinders bed bugs from reaching a specific area or surface.

Test procedure explained

  • Barrier test simulates a human host (heat and CO2) to attract bed bugs for testing repellents.
  • Bed bugs are exposed to the test barriers (such as filter paper) treated with repellents.
  • The simulation of a host (heat and CO2) in the test system is done to lure the bed bugs to cross the barrier.
  • Analysis of results is based on the efficacy of the repellent barrier in preventing bed bugs from crossing it.

Volatile repellents – This test runs with 5 replicates using ten bed bugs each time with an equal number of treated samples and untreated controls. Bed bugs are exposed to the repellent vapors (sample product) to check if the repellent can keep the bed bugs away from the system mimicking the human host(e.g. carbon dioxide and heat).

Impregnated fabric – This test is performed on both treated and untreated pieces of fabric using a test system to mimic the human host (e.g. carbon dioxide and heat). The test determines if a bed bug is repelled by the impregnated fabric (bed bug repellent) or not. 

Harborage test (Choice test)

The objective of the harborage test is to evaluate the efficacy of repellent products on bed bug behavior.

Test procedure explained

  • Experiment set up consists of crystallizing dishes with treated and untreated harborages.
  • A specified number of bed bugs are introduced in the middle of the crystallizing dish between the harborages.
  • The number of bed bugs in the treated and untreated harborages or outside the crystallizing dish is counted at specific time intervals.
  • During the observation period, the crystallizing dishes are left open. To minimize the impact of light on bed bug behavior, lights in the room are switched off, and soft twilight from the outside is used for data recording.
  • After the observation, crystallizing dishes are closed with mesh fixed with a rubber band to prevent bed bugs from escaping, and the room is completely darkened.
  • After 24 hr, the position of all bed bugs is counted again.
  • The number of lethally affected bed bugs is determined by forceps stimulation.
  • Bed bugs are categorized as lethally affected if they show no or only uncoordinated movement, or if they can’t turn back into the ventral position from the dorsal position

Volatile repellentsA modified version of the still-air olfactometer can be used to evaluate the efficacy of bed bug repellent products. The still-air olfactometer  device must have a source of carbon dioxide and heat to mimic a human host. The test involves looking at the mobility behavior of the bed bugs in the presence and absence of repellent in the treated area when there is a human mimicking host. A negative control is also set up with carbon dioxide and heat (mimicking human host) without repellent.

Alternatively, a Y-tube assay can also be used to check the bed bug’s response to different scents and repellents. 

Impregnated fabric – Both untreated and treated fabric are tested together with bed bugs placed onto the top of fabric. Their response/ movement either towards or away from the treated fabric is observed and measured.

In parallel, a control test is also run with an untreated fabric.

Importance of Bed Bug Repellency Test

Repellent products come under significant pest control strategies in managing bed bug infestations and safeguarding human living space. Using effective repellents can reduce the burden of bed bugs and their annoyances. Laboratory bed bug repellency assessment describes the test method to assess protection time and repellent action of test products against bed bug strains. These assessment methods follow standardized procedures to ensure efficacy of tested products for their intended application.

Need assistance with bed bug repellency test for your products! MIS entomology experts are here to help you.

At MIS, we offer a full suite of entomology testing services to different industries betrothed in production of insecticides for domestic, agricultural, vector disease control, and industrial use.

To provide comprehensive assessment, our entomology experts implement testing methods which are most widely accepted and acknowledged as per industry standards.

To get a quote on the bed bug product repellency test services, talk to our experts here.


Bed bug repellency test is used to evaluate the efficacy of repellent products claiming to have repellent properties against bed bugs.

Bed bug repellency test is applicable for a variety of bed bug products including spray products, impregnated fabrics, surface coatings, lotions, oils, etc.

Bed bug repellency test can take 2-3 weeks to complete.

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