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Bedbugs Show Resistance To Chemical Treatments

Update Date: Feb 01, 2016 10:40 AM EST

Bed bugs were exposed to two classes of chemicals---neonicotinoids, or neonics, and pyrethroids, by researchers.

Different approaches were adopted for the bugs. While one section of the bugs was isolated from pesticide use for 30 years, the others did not get exposed to the chemicals. One more group collected in New Jersey that got isolated developed a "pyrethroid tolerance" but never got exposed to neonics. Two more populations were collected from Michigan and Cincinnati, Ohio, according to scienceworldreport.

"Unfortunately, the insecticides we were hoping would help solve some of our bed bug problems are no longer as effective as they used to be, so we need to reevaluate some of our strategies for fighting them," study co-author Troy Anderson, an assistant professor of entomology at Virginia Tech, said in a news release.

Small amounts of neonics and pyrethroids killed almost 50 percent of the bugs, yet it took more chemicals to arrive at similar results with bed bugs from Ohio and Michigan.

Scientists found that both populations from the Midwest showed 33,333 greater resistants to a common insecticide called acetamiprid.

The New Jersey bed bugs also showed greater resistance to neonics, although they had not been exposed earlier. A detoxifying enzyme that was developed through their pyrethroid tolerance helped the bugs to keep away the new chemicals.

"While we all want a powerful tool to fight bedbug infestations, what we are using as a chemical intervention is not working as effectively it was designed and, in turn, people are spending a lot of money on products that aren't working," said Anderson, via

The researchers explain that feeding "stimulates detoxification enzymes responsible for insecticide resistance." Hence, a bed bug survives better with "bloodmeals", thus, insecticides should be used along with other control methods.

"Incorporating non-chemical methods into bed bug control is very important in order to achieve good results," said Singh. "Some examples of non-chemical methods include vacuuming visible bed bugs, applying steam to furniture and baseboards, laundering bed sheets and infested clothing, encasing mattresses and box springs with bed bug encasements, and installing interceptors under the legs of beds and upholstered furniture."

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