14 Jul 2017

Bed bugs have developed into ”super-bugs”!

It is known that many bed bugs around the world have developed a resilience to a number of pesticides, such as deltamethrin and other pyrethroids. They are not completely immune upon direct contact, but can withstand much higher doses of pesticides now than before. Over the last few years results have been published that show that bed bugs have also started to develop resistance to two other substances: bifenthrin and chlorfenapyr.

Richard Naylor
Cimex Lectularius

Researchers behind the study have compared bed bugs that have lived protected from pesticides since 1973 (Harlan) with bed bugs collected from environments in the USA treated with these pesticides. The different strains of bed bugs were subjected to different amounts of the respective substances, which were sufficient enough to kill 99 % of the Harlan-bed bugs in three days. Among the most resilient wild-caught strains, about half of the insects survived. A clear pattern also emerged that the bed bug strains that were resistant to one substance were also resistant to the other substance.

The result again shows the bed bug’s ability to develop a resilience to different types of pesticides and, that it does not necessarily help to switch to another type of chemical pesticide. It is clear that chemical pesticides must be combined with other types of control measures such as Nattaro Safe or loose diatomaceous earth (Verminix/Myrnix), heat treatment, traps and mattress protectors, both to achieve good control results and to prevent the bed bugs becoming more resilient.

Neither bifenthrin nor chlorfenapyr are approved for use against bed bugs in Sweden.

More information on the subject:
Ashbrook, A. E., Scharf, M. E., Bennet, G. W. och A. D. Gondhalekar, 2017, Detection of Reduced Susceptibility to Chlorfenapyr- and Bifenthrin-Containing Products in Field Populations of the Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), Journal of Economic Entomology 2017, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/tox070

I Entomology Today
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