Pinpointing The Weakness In Bed Bugs

With bed bugs plaguing humans since the beginning of time, it is not surprising to hear that scientists are on a mad dash to try to find a way to stop the bloodsucking insects dead in their tracks.  Cries from around the world show that the bed bug blood bath has not slowed in the slightest and instead has increased over the past 15+ years.

According to Scientific American on March 14, 2013, scientists are probing for any weakness that the little vampires could potentially have.  Their recent research has shown that the current arsenal of pesticides that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency is ineffective on many strains of bed bugs.  But researchers are hoping that the new information that they have discovered will help them in developing new pesticides that will destroy the bloodsuckers in the near future.

Scientific American reported that researchers from the University of Kentucky have been studying bed bugs that were collected from infestations.  According to reports, the genes were sequenced in “21 pesticide resistant bed bug populations”.  A comparison was made between the lab-bred’s active genes and those that were found in the field.  What was interesting to find is that the scientists “identified 14 genes in the collected DNA having variants associated with pesticide resistance. Different populations carried different combinations of the gene variants. The team reported on March 14 in Scientific Reports they found as well that each of the bed bug populations tested carried at least two resistance variants.”

The conclusion to their findings is that the resistant genes occur in the outer epidermis, not the digestive tract which occurs with other insect species.  Researchers further believe that bed bugs that are exposed to many types of pesticides are able to detoxify the chemicals before they are able to penetrate their outer shell and reach nerve cells. The findings are considered to be groundbreaking as it can help pesticides that will be created that will work around the bed bugs current ability to detoxify and avoid pesticide exposure.