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You may start having trouble sleeping more and more in the near future because a study has shown that bed bugs have become increasingly resistant to insecticides. This study was conducted by a research team comprised of scientists from Virginia Tech and New Mexico State University and was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
Bed bugs are exactly what they sound like, small insects that usually like to inhabit your bed. They feed on human blood and are usually nocturnal. Symptoms are usually in the form of rashes near the bite or allergic reactions. But these insects do have an intense psychological effect on people, due to the fact that one will not sleep soundly when knowing that their bed is teeming with insects that partake in blood consumption.
The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, has been almost completely eradicated in the developed world in 1994, after plaguing human beds and homes for thousands of years. But from 1995 up to this point in time, they have slowly increased in numbers due to government bans on efficient insecticides, as well as an increased resistance towards traditional pest removal methods.
The study in question was focused on comparing insecticide effectiveness when applied to isolated bed bug specimens or to ones coming from Michigan and Cincinnati, known for their insecticide resistance. The main focus in terms of insecticide use was neonicotinoid pesticides.
Unsurprisingly, the isolated specimens died almost immediately when subjected to a very small amount of neonicotinoid insecticides in the form of 0.3 nanograms of acetamiprid. On the other hand, bed bugs from Cincinnati and Michigan required the administration of 10,000 nanograms before they would start dying.
In order to see if this resistance is spread to other substances, the research team applied imidacloprid as well. Isolated insect took 2.3 nanograms while the others took 1,064 for Michigan bed bugs and 365 for the Cincinnati ones.
The reason why bed bugs have become increasingly resistant to insecticides over the past few years can be basically blamed on us. By continuously using only one type of pesticide, bed bugs become genetically modified in order to survive in harsh environments, transmitting this resistance from one generation to another. Because of this, scientists are now trying to come up with a new substance that could potentially wipe out bed bugs without having any adverse effect on our health or our pets.