Why Are Bed Bugs Are So Hard To Kill

Entomologists have been grappling with this question for as long as they’ve been battling bed bugs, but the answer has remained a mystery – until now. Virginia Tech Professor of Entomology Dr. Zach Adelman, author of a recently published paper in a U.S. science journal, has made an important discovery that may answer the question at last.

Bed bugs, those nasty little critters that were once almost entirely eradicated from North America, have come back with a vengeance. They’ve developed a resistance to the insecticides that were once used to control them. Resistant bugs, also known as “superbugs,” have special enzymes that break insecticides down, making them virtually harmless.

The report was compiled after tests were done on two types of bed bugs: lab-raised bugs that never came into contact with pesticides, and insecticide resistant bed bugs from Richmond, Virginia. According to the Toronto Star, “the levels of insecticide-thwarting enzymes were “bananas out-of-control higher” in the resistant strain of bed bugs.”

These findings come at a particularly crucial time – especially for those living in infested areas in North America. Public Health officials across Canada have been bombarded with calls from concerned citizens, whose landlords have sprayed and sprayed, to no avail. The cases of persistent infestations are problematic, since that means the strains of bed bugs are particularly resistant. Two recent discoveries may change all that, though.

According to the Star article, scientists discovered a mutation in bed bugs that stops insecticides from binding with their nerves, making them, therefore, un-killable. Now, with the discovery of this new enzyme, scientists are one step closer to discovering a more powerful agent for eradicating the blood-sucking bugs for good. Until then, it would seem that the only sure-fire solution is a heat treatment.

If you or someone you know is battling bed bugs without success, give one of our technicians a call. Insecticide is not the solution. Heat is.

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