Bedbugs are evolving to resist pesticides and colonies are on the rise

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Research shows insecticides are becoming less effective in removing the pests.

Researchers are saying bedbugs are becoming more resistant to pesticides designed to kill them, and as a result, outbreaks of the pests are on the rise in some areas of the country, according to a Huffington Post story.

Bedbugs are found just about everywhere, including apartments, hotels and motels, college dorms, nursing homes, office buildings and even on public transportation, pretty much anywhere there are people.  Their bite does not cause any illnesses, but they leave welts and can lead to intense itching, depending on the person’s tolerance.

A survey, by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, revealed that 64 percent of people in the pest management industry believe infestations by bed bugs are on the rise.

Add to that, new research from homes in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jersey City, New Jersey, and Troy, Michigan, is showing bedbugs are becoming insecticide resistant, according to a statement released by Dr. Troy Anderson, one of the scientists doing the research.

Anderson, assistant professor of entomology in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said in a statement, chemical intervention is not working as well as it was designed to in fighting bedbug infestations.  Whether that observation is true across the country remains to be determined, but the survey evidence  by the NPMA and UK seem to support the analysis.

The data appears to show the pests are developing a resistance to a family of compounds known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, commonly used in the elimination of the pests.  The study by Dr. Anderson and Dr. Alvaro Romero, an assistant professor of entomology at New Mexico State University, looked at the effectiveness of the neonics on bedbugs collected from homes to a colony of bugs that had never been exposed to neonics.

The study results show that it took as much as thousands of times the level of insecticide to kill the bugs from the homes as in the control group from the isolated lab.

Dr.Romero said natural selection was the reason, adding organisms have the ability to overcome the effect of insecticides by developing molecular and biochemical mechanisms to make the chemical compounds less effective.

To prevent the spread of the pests, Dr. Romero advises using traps, heat treatments and vacuuming the remove the bugs and we need to learn how to stop acquiring and transporting the pests.

Wanda B. Hewlett

Wanda B. Hewlett (Contributor) is a freelance writer from the UK. When she’s not busy writing she loves to spend her time traveling, exploring and running.

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