New Research Discovers How Bed Bug Genes Disarm Pesticides

Bed bug infestations are notoriously tough to get rid of and the increasing ability of modern bed bug populations to resist commonly-used pesticides has puzzled scientists and created growing concern among public health officials that have been battling the resurgence of this annoying pest for the past decade. Bed bugs aren’t the only pest to gradually develop a genetic resistance to the products used to kill it, but the way bed bugs shrug off pesticides turns out to be unique in the insect world.

As reported in PCT, the online issue of Pest Control Technology magazine, new bed bug research presented at last week’s National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society revealed that in bed bugs pesticide-resistant genes are concentrated in the insect’s hard outer shell.

“Every living thing on Earth has a unique set of strategies to adapt to life-threatening situations in the environment,” research leader Fang Zhu of Washington State University told the scientific gathering. “The surprise discovery we never expected is that most of the genes responsible for pesticide resistance in the bed bug are active in its outer skin-like shell or cuticle. This is the unique adaption that has not been discovered in cockroaches, termites, ants or other insects.”

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