Tag Archives: bed bugs

Bed bugs ‘dodge insecticides’ with molecular tricks

As someone who has to battle bed bugs from time to time at work, this worries me.

Bed bugs use a range of tactics to render insecticides useless, a study suggests.

Infestations are on the rise around the world, but the pests are growing resistant to some chemicals.

Now scientists have found 14 genes associated with a number of biological changes.

These include the development of a thicker skin that stops poisons from penetrating, and mutations that prevent toxins from hitting the nervous system.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also suggests that some of the bugs are producing higher levels of enzymes that help to metabolise insecticides more quickly.

Others genes are associated with proteins that interfere with the way the deadly chemicals are carried around the bed bugs’ bodies.

Subba Palli, professor entomology from the University of Kentucky in the US and an author of the study, said that the hardy insects were using a combination of these molecular tricks.

“Some used four different mechanisms, some three and so on,” he explained.

“Bed bugs are employing more than one mechanism of resistance to avoid insecticide toxicity.”