University of Minnesota
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Stephen Kells

Associate Professor and Extension Entomologist


Office location:

Room 510 Hodson Hall

Mailing Address

219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave.
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108

Phone: (612) 625-4798
FAX: (612) 625-5299



Ph.D., Entomology, Purdue University

Research Interests:

The focus of my research includes a mix of basic and applied research that supports the urban and stored product sectors. Current research includes: the behavioral ecology of bed bugs and stored product pests, including mold mites, leading toward sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions. As such, I collaborate with the pest control industry vial applied research and subsequent educational programs. My research program supports a Junior Scientist, 2 PhD Students, a MS Student and 2 undergraduate students.

Extension Interests:

My extension program delivers information about bed bugs and stored product pests, as well as the means to prevent and control these pests. This program is supported by my research efforts as well as published information from the research of others. Graduate students and staff in my lab also assist in the delivery of Extension information as well. Much of the Extension information is also maintained on the recently revised web sites, including the Bed Bug site, as well as a collaborative effort with the Minnesota Dept. of Health.

My Extension program provides National and Regional leadership toward control and prevention of bed bugs and mold mites (a stored product pest) and IPM of these pests in commercial and residential settings. I also recently assisted in forming the new “NC TEMP 500 Bed Bug Working Group,” to improve communication among research and extension staff for this key pest issue, nationwide. Recent examples of invited, national presentations on Bed Bug management include: NY Pest Management Association, NJ Pest Management Association, National Pest Management Association, South Dakota State University Pesticide Applicator Training, Purina Food Safety Symposium, North American Bed Bug Summit, and the 2010 Bed Bug Symposium at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) National Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Teaching Interests:

Although my primary teaching role includes my formal Extension responsibilities, I participate in our graduate program by giving guest lectures, and developed an IPM module for the USDA funded consortium, IPM3 an on-line, Professional Program in Pest Management (see IPM for Facilities Managers; Univ. of Minnesota).

Recent Publications:


  1. Olson, J.F., R.D. Moon, S.A. Kells and K.A. Mesce. 2014. Morphology, ultrastructure and functional role of antennal sensilla in off-host aggregation by the bed bug, Cimex lectularius. Arthropod Structure & Development xx : 1-6. DOI:
  2. DeVries, Z.C., S.A. Kells and A.G. Appel. 2013. Standard metabolic rate of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius: Effects of temperature, mass, and life stage. Journal of Insect Physiology, 59(11): 1133-1139.
  3. Olson, J.F., M. Eaton, S.A. Kells, V. Morin, and C. Wang. 2013. Cold tolerance of bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, and practical recommendations for control. Journal of Economic Entomology, 106(6): 2433-2441. DOI:
  4. Freitag, J.A. and S.A. Kells. 2013. Efficacy and application considerations of selected residual acaricides against the mold mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Acari: Acaridae) in simulated retail habitats. Journal of Economic Entomology, 106(4): 1920-1926.
  5. Eaton, M., and S. A. Kells. 2011. Freeze mortality characteristics of the mold mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae, a significant pest of stored products. J. of Econ. Entomol. 104 (4): 1423 -1429.
  6. Kells, S A., and M. J. Goblirsch. 2011. Temperature and time requirements for controlling bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) under commercial heat treatment conditions. Insects 2 (3): 412
  7. Walter, A.J., S.A. Kells, R.C. Venette, and S.J. Seybold. 2010. Boring in response to bark and phloem extracts from North American trees does not explain host acceptance behavior of the Mediterranean pine engraver, Orthotomicus erosus (Wollaston) (Coleoptera:Scolytidae). Environmental Entomology, 39: 661-669.
  8. Walter, A.J., R.C. Venette, S.A. Kells, and S.J. Seybold. 2010. Walking Response of the Mediterranean Pine Engraver, Orthotomicus erosus, to Novel Plant Odors in a Laboratory Olfactometer. Journal of Insect Behavior, 23:251-267.
  9. Walter, A.J., R.C. Venette and S.A. Kells. 2010. Acceptance and suitability of novel North American hosts for Orthotomicus erosus, a potential invasive bark beetle. Biological Invasions, 12: 1133-1144.
  10. Meier, T.R., C.S. Frisk, M.C. Blanco, and S.A. Kells. 2009. Tyrophagus putrescentiae Infestation in a Murine Research Facility. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, 48: 545 (Abstract).
  11. Swanson, J.A.I., B. Torto, S.A. Kells, K.A. Mesce, J.H. Tumlinson and M.M. Spivak. 2009. Odorants that induce hygienic behavior in honeybees: identification of volatile compounds in chalkbrood-infected honeybee larvae. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 35: 1108-1116.
  12. Olson, J.F., R.D. Moon and S.A. Kells. 2009. Off-host aggregation behavior and sensory basis of arrestment by Cimex lectularius (Heteroptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Insect Physiology, 55: 580-587.
  13. Eaton, M. and S.A. Kells. 2009. Use of vapor pressure deficit to predict humidity and temperature effects on the mortality of mold mites, Tyrophagus putrescentiae. Experimental and Applied Acarology, 47: 201-213.
  14. Bouchard, R.W. Jr, B.E. Schuetz, L.C. Ferrington Jr., and S.A. Kells. 2009. Cold hardiness in the adults of two winter stonefly species: Allocapnia granulate (Claassen) and A. pygmaea (Burmeister) (Plecoptera Capniidae). Aquatic Insects, 31(2): 145-155.
  15. Galvan, T.L., S. Kells and W.D. Hutchison. 2008. Determination of 3-alkyl-2-methoxypyrazines in lady beetle-infested wine by solid-phase microextraction headspace sampling. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(3): 1065-1071.
  16. Kells, S.A. 2008. Integrated Pest Management in Structural (Urban and Industrial) Habitats; in E.B. Radcliffe, W.D. Hutchison and R.E. Cancelado. Integrated Pest Management. Cambridge University Press.
  17. Kaliyan, N., M. A. Carrillo, R. V. Morey, W. F. Wilcke and S. A. Kells. 2007. Mortality of Indianmeal Moth, Plodia interpunctella, under Changing Temperatures: Model Development and Validation. Environmental Entomology, 36(6): 1318-1327.
  18. Kells, S.A. 2006. Bed Bugs: A systemic pest within society. American Entomologist, 52(2): 109 – 110.
  19. Kells, S.A. 2006. Non-chemical control of bed bugs. American Entomologist, 52(2): 111 – 112.
  20. Bouchard, R.W. Jr., M.A. Carrillo, S.A. Kells & L.C. Ferrington Jr. 2006. Freeze tolerance in larvae of the winter-active Diamesa mendotae Muttkowski (Diptera: Chironomidae): a contrast to adult strategy for survival at low temperatures. Hydrobiologia, 568: 403-416.
  21. Kells, S.A. 2005. Bait aversion by German cockroaches (Dictyoptera Blattellidae): The influence and interference of nutrition. pp. 419-422. In C.Y. Lee and W.H. Robinson (eds). Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Urban Pests. Perniagaan Ph’ng, Penang, Malaysia 571p.


  1. Shindelar, A.K. and S.A. Kells. 2013. Let’s Beat the bug Youtube Channel with 20 videos.
    Recent Videos in cooperation with ECHO Minnesota: (Languages: English, Spanish, Karen, Somali, Hmong)
         Bed bug prevention and control (Also in Arabic)
         Controlling bed bugs by hand
         Laundering items to kill bed bugs
    Recent Videos: (Languages: English only at this time)
         Have I found a bed bug
         How to Prevent bed bugs from entering your home
         Vacuuming to capture bed bugs
         Freezing conditions to kill bed bugs
         What NOT to do when you have bed bugs
  2. Shindelar, A.K. and S.A. Kells. 2013. Bed Bug Prevention and Control Video. 23 Minutes. Video also translated to Karen and Spanish languages.
  3. Shindelar, A.K. and S.A. Kells. 2013. Bed bug identification card.
  4. Hahn, J. and S. Kells. 2013 (Rev.). Masked Hunters University of Minnesota Extension Service.
  5. Hahn, J. and S.A. Kells. 2011. Springtails. University of Minnesota Extension Service Factsheet.
  6. Kells, S.A. 2010. Prevention and control of bed bugs in retail facilities. University of Minnesota Extension Service Factsheet (not public at this time).
  7. Elston, D.M. and Kells, S.A. 2010. Bed bugs (factsheet for physicians) (updated)., Waltham MA.
  8. Elston, D.M. and Kells, S.A. 2009. Bed bugs (factsheet for physicians) (updated)., Waltham MA.
  9. Kells, S.A. 2008. Bed bugs in hotels. A Checklist for prevention and control. University of Minnesota Extension Service Factsheet (not public at this time).
  10. Elston, D.M. and Kells, S.A. 2008. Bed bugs (factsheet for physicians)., Waltham MA.
  11. Kells, S.A. 2008. Bed bugs (factsheet for patients)., Waltham MA.
  12. Kells, S.A. 2006. Control of bed bugs in residences: information for pest control companies (U.S. edition). University of Minnesota Extension Service Factsheet.
  13. Kells, S.A. 2006. Control of bed bugs in residences: information for pest control companies (Canadian edition). University of Minnesota Extension Service Factsheet.
  14. Kells, S.A. 2006. Picturesheet: the difference between bed bugs and bat bugs. University of Minnesota Extension Service Factsheet.

Graduate Students Advised:

More Information

Bed Bug Web Site

MN Dept of Health Collaboration

IPM3 Online Program in Pest Management 

Academic Moment Video: Bedbugs