Nancy L. Ralph, Heidi E. Jones


Bedbugs are attracted to carbon dioxide (CO2) and sebum, the production of which may be affected by dietary sugar.  Increased intake of sugar may produce an unknown threshold of CO2 or sebum needed to influence prey selection. Our hypothesis was that, in a non-laboratory setting, a differential sugar intake might measurably influence bedbug human prey selection. After adjusting for socioeconomic and other confounding factors in a large representative sample of non-institutionalized New York City adults, we found an association between daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and bedbug infestation (AOR 2.1, 95% confidence interval, 1.4, 3.0). While these findings are clearly exploratory, we feel they warrant further investigation of dietary sugars as a determinant of bedbug prey selection.


Bedbugs; Cimex lectularius; prey; sugar; carbon dioxide

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