Bed Bugs Are Becoming More Resistant To Insecticides Due To Thicker Skins

Posted: Apr 14 2016, 10:13am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 14 2016, 10:17am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Bed Bugs are becoming More Resistant to Insecticides due to Thicker Skins
Credit: David Lilly

Researchers have figured out the reason of the global resurgence of bed bugs in past two decades

Insects are known for their ability to develop resistance to insecticides. It has been thought that the more insects are exposed to bug killer, the more likely they become resistant. And a recent research also supports this theory.

The new research shows that bed bugs have developed a thicker exoskeleton over the past few years that enable them to survive exposure to commonly used insecticides.

Bed bugs are parasite insects that feed on blood and their bites are painful and itchy. The insect had been largely eradicated in many parts of the world centuries ago but its global resurgence in past few decades have baffled scientists and they have tried to figure out why bed bugs are making such a strong comeback. The answer lies in the thickness of their ‘skin.’ Bed bugs have developed thicker skins or cuticles which may be helping them absorb less insecticides and making them more resistant to those poisons that were once used to be quite effective against them.

“The new findings reveal that one way bed bugs beat insecticides is by developing a thicker thin,” said lead researcher David Lilly from University of Sydney.

“Bed bugs like all insects are covered by an exoskeleton called a cuticle. Using scanning electron microscopy, we were able to compare the thickness of cuticles taken from specimens resistant to insecticides and from those more easily killed by those same insecticides.”

Researchers found that the thickness of the exoskeleton was the main difference between resistant or non-resistant bed bugs. The thicker the skin, the more likely the bed bugs were to survive insecticides exposure.

The study was focused to find the reason behind the global resurgence of bed bugs and why we have failed to control their invasion. Understanding why they have again become so common can help develop more effective insecticides for their control. 

“The findings are exciting but collecting data was frustrating. Taking microscopic measurements of bed bug legs require a steady hand and patience, a lot of patience,” said Lilly. “If we understand the biological mechanisms bed bugs used to beat insecticides, we may be able to spot a chink in their armor that we can exploit with new strategies.” 

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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