Toxicities of selected essential oils, silicone oils, and paraffin oil against the common bed bug (hemiptera: Cimicidae)

Chen Zha, Changlu Wang, Andrew Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The common bed bug [Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)] and tropical bed bug [Cimex hemipterus F. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)] resurged in the United States and many other countries over the past decades. The need for safe and effective bed bug control products propelled the development of numerous 'green insecticides', mostly with essential oils listed as active ingredients. Various inorganic and organic oils also were used for bed bug management. However, there are no published studies on their toxicities against bed bugs. In this study, we screened 18 essential oils, three silicone oils, and paraffin oil (C5-20 paraffins) for their toxicities against bed bugs. All the oils exhibited insecticidal activity in topical assays. Their toxicities varied significantly; all of the evaluated essential oils were less effective than silicone oils and paraffin oil. The LD50 values of the most effective essential oil (blood orange), paraffin oil, and the most effective silicone oil (dodecamethylpentasiloxane) are 0.184 ± 0.018, 0.069 ± 0.012, and 0.036 ± 0.005 mg per bug, respectively. Direct spray of 1% water solution of 3-[hydroxy (polyethyleneoxy) propyl] heptamethyltrisiloxane, the only silicone oil that mixes well with water, resulted in 92% bed bug mortality after 1 d. Results of this study indicate silicone oils and paraffin oil have the potential to be used as safer alternative bed bug control materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-177
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 9 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Insect Science
  • Ecology


  • Cimex lectularius
  • Essential oil
  • Paraffin oil
  • Silicone oil
  • Toxicity


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