The survival and molting incidence were studied in the insect, Panstrongylus megistus, following sequential cold shocks in which a milder shock at 0 or 5 degrees C for 1 h preceded a more severe shock (0 degrees C, 12 h). The shocks were separated by intervals of 8, 18, 24, and 72 h at 28 degrees C. The survival rate after sequential shocks was identical to that of unshocked controls. Cold-shock tolerance differed from heat-shock tolerance since the latter varied with the time between shocks and was much more transient. Sequential cold shocks produced a higher molting incidence when the first shock was given at 0 compared to 5 degrees C. This response was more rapid than that to sequential heat shocks. Cold-shock tolerance in P. megistus may involve heat-shock proteins, although other protective mechanisms may also occur concurrently. This is the first report of cold-shock tolerance in a blood-sucking hemipteran.