Standard metabolic rate of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius: Effects of temperature, mass, and life stage

Zachary C. DeVries, Stephen A. Kells, Arthur G. Appel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Metabolic rates provide important information about the biology of organisms. For ectothermic species such as insects, factors such as temperature and mass heavily influence metabolism, but these effects differ considerably between species. In this study we examined the standard metabolic rate of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. We used closed system respirometry and measured both O2 consumption and CO2 production across a range of temperatures (10, 20, 25, 30, 35°C) and life stages, while also accounting for activity. Temperature had a stronger effect on the mass specific V̇O2 (mlg-1h-1) of mated males (Q10=3.29), mated females (Q10=3.19), unmated males (Q10=3.09), and nymphs that hatched (first instars, Q10=3.05) than on unmated females (Q10=2.77) and nymphs that molted (second through fifth instars, Q10=2.78). First instars had significantly lower respiratory quotients (RQ) than all other life stages. RQ of all stages was not affected by temperature. V̇O2 (mlh-1) scaled more with mass than values previously reported for other arthropods or that would be predicted by the 3/4-power law. The results are used to understand the biology and ecology of the bed bug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1139
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful reviews of the manuscript. We also thank Marla Eva for assistance with lab equipment, Maryann DeVries for assistance with executing experiments, and Kevin Olson for maintaining bed bug colonies and shipping bed bugs. Finally, this work was funded by a departmental assistantship to the first author from the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University.


  • Bed bug
  • Cimicidae
  • Mass scaling
  • Q
  • Respiration
  • Respiratory quotient


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