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Bed Bug

Photo Courtesy of Gilles San Martin, www.flickr.com

A press release went out Tuesday, Dec 6th from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene with results on important new research on bedbugs.  Researchers found that bedbugs are able to genetically withstand inbreeding.  This means a single female that has mated is able to colonize.  Her offspring-males and females-can mate with each other which substantially increases the population.  With most other species, extensive inbreeding would cause significant mutations that would eventually wipe out the population.

This research gives us new insight as to why the bedbug has reappeared across the United States. Rajeev Vaidyanathan, PhD, associate director of Vector Biology and Zoonotic Disease at SRI International states that “New York City alone spends between $10 million and $40 million per year on bed bug control, and these numbers are repeated in other major cities across the US.”

In addition, it was found that bedbugs have developed a resistance to commonly used pesticides, namely pyrethroids.  Research continues on new methods by targeting enzymes within the insect’s body.

In addition, the US Department of Agriculture is working to understand the pheromones which affect the bed bugs’ behavior and research is being conducted in the ability of dogs to sniff out bed bugs!

Other factors that have contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs are our human population density as we’ve moved out of rural areas and into cities, our increased domestic and international travel, and our increased usage of used furniture and household goods in our homes.

With over 95% of pest control companies reporting bed bugs as a priority, this research gives us new insights on treatment and eradication practices.  Further solutions will be found in educating the general public, improving detection methods, and developing safe and more effective controls.

For more information on bedbugs, and how to help keep them out of your house, please check the following link: Bedbugs


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