According to a recent article in BBC News, research suggests that the re-emergence of the bed bug is due to insecticide usage in the tropics. The results were presented by Dr. Warren Booth and Dr. Coby Schal, of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, at the 60th annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Booth explained that the genetic evidence he collected with his colleagues showed that the bed bugs infesting households in the US and Canada were imported. Samples were collected across the eastern US, and it was discovered that the populations were genetically diverse.
Schal suggests that the bed bugs originated elsewhere and relatively recently because of the limit time to interbreed.
“Findings presented at the gathering in Philadelphia showed that 90% of 66 populations sampled from 21 US states were resistant to a group of insecticides, known as pyrethroids, commonly used to kill unwanted bugs and flies.” – Excerpt from BBC News
However, there are contrasting opinions on these results. Dr. Clive Boase, UK based pest management specialist, suggests that although bed bugs were less pervasive in the 1970’s and 1980’s they were still present. By continuing the pest to insecticides, the creatures likely developed a resistance.
“It is hard to argue with genetic testing,” said Jeffrey White, Technical Director of BedBug Central. “If we look at the resurgence of bed bugs and compare it to how immigration has increased in the past 10 to 20 years, the timing matches the results of this testing.”
To read the full BBC News article, click here.