Picture of Janis Reed, Ph.D., BCE

Janis Reed, Ph.D., BCE

Technical Services Manager PCO Product Development

Post Date
Wednesday - June 06 - 2018
Post Title

Bed Bugs and Resistance to Insecticides



Bed Bugs and Resistance to Insecticides

Image of a Bed Bug

The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, has a long, well documented history of resistance to insecticides. Resistance is defined as “a heritable change in the sensitivity of a pest population that is reflected in the repeated failure of a product to achieve the expected level of control when used per the label recommendation for that pest species.” Resistance is more common in populations with a quick generation time, such as house flies, German cockroaches, and bed bugs. It is less common in social insects such as ants and termites.

The Development of Resistance

Let’s take a minute to explore how insects, and specifically bed bugs, develop resistance to pesticides. Pests have several tools they use to overcome exposure to insecticides. Metabolic detoxification by multistep enzyme systems is a common method used to detoxify chemicals inside insect bodies, and there are many ways these processes can affect pesticides.

Another method insects, and specifically bed bugs, have been shown to use is thickening of their outer exoskeleton. Several studies have shown a connection between a thicker cuticle and a decreased response to insecticides, specifically pyrethroids. Behavioral resistance is a third type of resistance; this is when the pest changes its behavior to avoid being harmed by the pesticide.

This type of resistance is not believed to be affected by the same selection pressures as the first two types, and is the most difficult type of resistance to anticipate in integrated pest management programs.

So, what’s a PMP to do?

If you think you might be dealing with a pesticide resistant population, applying higher concentrations of the same pesticide you have been using will not give better control. Once a pest population is resistant, the mode of action, or how the pesticide controls the pest, is no longer effective or is less effective. Generally, acceptable control cannot be easily reached if the same pesticide continues to be used, even at higher concentrations.

Development of resistance to a specific chemical can be reduced by rotating chemicals – and not just chemicals but functional groups and modes of action. However, to significantly slow down the development of resistance compared to rotation, use a mixture or combination of pesticides, at the same time. These mixtures or combinations work well because as pests are killed with a lethal dose of pesticide A in the mixture, they are simultaneously affected by pesticide B. Only the very rare individuals who have mechanisms of resistance to BOTH products can survive and reproduce.

Combination Chemistry Logo

Combination Chemistry ®, the formulating of products with multiple active ingredients, with different modes of action, creating a unique product, was introduced to combat these problems and Control Solutions, Inc. will continue to work with researchers and industry professionals to address ongoing and developing pest problems.

In the meantime there are many CSI products you may use to combat bed bugs such as,

Spectre 2 SC

Spectre 2 SC

Spectre 2 SC insecticide powered by 21.45% Chlorfenapry. Spectre 2 SC is an odorless non-repellent insecticide so insects can’t sense it to avoid it!

Cyzmic® CS

Cyzmic CS

Cyzmic® CS Controlled Release Insecticide is a very effective weapon with long-lasting residual effects for the control of bed bugs.

D-Fense® Dust

D-Fense Dust

Lastly PMPs should consider the application of a dust following the application of a dual active liquid SC. D-Fense® Dust Insecticide is an outstanding weapon with precise control. D-Fense Dust can be applied directly to mattresses and all around the bedroom battlefield to defeat the enemy: bed bugs.

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