Killing bedbugs may have just gotten a bit harder as researchers from Virginia Tech and New Mexico State University have found that the little critters have built up a resistance to one of the most popular insecticides used against them.

The findings - in a paper titled “High Levels of Resistance in the Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), to Neonicotinoid Insecticides” - were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology. Basically, we only have ourselves to blame.

"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," quotes Troy Anderson, a Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences assistant professor, as saying.

The research specifically focused on neonicotinoids, a common class of insecticides regularly used in pest control for bedbug infestations and similar bug-related problems. They compared bedbugs that had been kept in isolation since before the specific kind of insecticide became commonly used to those that had been collected from Michigan and Cincinnati homes exposed to neonicotinoids previously.

As suspected, a very small amount managed to kill those that had been in isolation while those collected from the wild, so to speak, had a much higher resistance. Specifically, to kill 50 percent of the bugs from each group, it took 0.3 nanograms of acetamiprid for the isolated bugs, while it took more than 10,000 nanograms for the wild bugs. Another substance, imidacloprid, took 2.3 nanograms for the isolated ones and 1,064 nanograms to kill the Michigan bugs and 365 to kill the Cincinnati ones.

In short, the wild ones ranged from over 100 to over 30,000 times more resistant to the substances they were treated with when compared with the same substances when treating the isolated bugs. Time to figure out a new solution, it sounds like.


Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture | Flickr

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.