Great -- bedbugs are now resistant to pesticides

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Chicago's Number One! (In Bedbugs)

Bedbugs are developing resistance to some of the most common pesticides, according to a new study in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Scientists found that the insects scurrying around Michigan and Ohio were 33,333 times more resistant to some pesticides than bedbugs raised in a laboratory, and that those in New Jersey were between two and nearly 50 times more resistant to frontline insecticides than their lab-grown peers.

Are we running out of ways to keep bedbugs out of our beds?

Michigan bedbugs can be 33,000X more resistant to pesticide than lab bugs

To be fair, we're not totally doomed. The four insecticides mentioned above are part of a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of pesticides, which are almost invariably found in commercial bedbug treatments. But there are other chemicals on the market that can kill creepy crawlies, and we have no reason to believe that bedbugs are resistant to them -- yet.

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"Unfortunately, the insecticides we were hoping would help solve some of our bedbug problems are no longer as effective as they used to be, so we need to reevaluate some of our strategies for fighting them," Troy Anderson, an entomologist at Virginia Tech and coauthor on the study, said in a statement. "If resistance is detected, products with different modes of action need to be considered."

For the study, Anderson and his team first sprayed pesticides on bedbugs from Jersey City and measured how many "detoxifying enzymes"—enzymes that would protect them from the insecticide—they produced to protect themselves from the poison. They found that Jersey City bedbugs produced more detoxifying enzymes than those raised in a laboratory.

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Then, the researchers exposed bedbugs from New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio (along with a group raised in a laboratory) to each pesticide and recorded how much poison it took to kill half of them. The lab-raised bedbugs died almost instantly when exposed to even a small amount of insecticide—like bedbugs are supposed to. But the other populations displayed buggy superpowers, and stubbornly survived even as the researchers pumped more and more poison into them. It took only 0.3 nanograms (about one third of the mass of an average human cell) of acetamiprid to kill the lab-raised bedbugs, but 10,000 nanograms (about the mass of a grain of sand) to off the Michigan and Ohio populations. That's a lot of poison for something smaller than an apple seed.

"While we all want a powerful tool to fight bedbug infestations, what we are using as a chemical intervention is not working as effectively it was designed," Anderson said in a prepared statement. "In turn, people are spending a lot of money on products that aren't working."

The post Great -- Bedbugs Are Now Resistant to Pesticides appeared first on Vocativ.

Learn more about the dogs that help detect bedbugs:

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Great -- bedbugs are now resistant to pesticides
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2008, file photo, Carl Massicott, with Advanced K9 Detectives, leads his beagle dog Radar on a demonstration of how they sniff for bed bugs, during a visit to New York. Pest control company Terminex released a list Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010 of the 15 most bedbug-infested cities, and New York, Philadelphia and Detroit have scratched their way to the top. Terminix based the report on an analysis of call volume to the Memphis, Tenn.-based company's 350 service centers. Insect scientists say bedbugs are appearing on a scale not seen since before World War II. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews,File)
ROCKVILLE, MD , SEPTEMBER 16: Penny, a rat terrier 2 years-9 months at American Pest Control, 401 North Street, Rockville.American Pest Control Owners Dough and Becky Wade purchased the puppy for their business. The dog is trained to sniff out bedbugs.(Photo by Evy Mages for the Washington Post)
ROCKVILLE, MD , SEPTEMBER 16: Penny, a rat terrier 2 years-9 months at American Pest Control, 401 North Street, Rockville.American Pest Control Owners Dough and Becky Wade purchased the puppy for their business. The dog is trained to sniff out bedbugs.(Photo by Evy Mages for the Washington Post)
Kim Meiklejohn and her dog Dasi Mae take a bedbug location certification test during the National Canine Conference Thursday, June 2, 2011, at a hotel in Philadelphia. Meiklejohn with K9 Scent Detection in Easton Md., attended the event that offered training and certification for bedbug location canines and their handlers. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Elio Chiavola of Riverdale, N.J. and his dog Chopper who was adopted from a shelter wait their turn to take a bed bug sniffing team certification test Thursday, June 2, 2011, at a hotel in Philadelphia. Chiavola and Chopper attended the event that offered training and certification for bedbug location canines and their handlers. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Gordon Chibroski, Staff Photographer. WEDNESDAY, August 24, 2011. Maine at Work feature of Ray Routhier working with Jon Locke, dog-handler and co-owner of Northeast K9 Detectives, doing a bedbug sweep of an apartment in Portland with his trained Beagle named Pops. Here, Pops finds the test bottle of bedbugs used for training and demonstation purposes. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 22: Bedbug-detecting dog Barney signals which container has live bed bugs during a demonstration at the Bed Bug University North American Summit 2010 on September 22, 2010 in Rosemont, Illinois. The two-day conference of bed bug experts and pest control workers featured seminars from researchers and vendors displaying the latest products focused on bedbug detection, elimination and prevention. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Bella, a dog trained to sniff out bed bugs, demonstrates her skills at a two-day conference on eradicating the hardy critters in a suburb of Chicago on September 21, 2010. Nearly eliminated a few decades ago, bedbugs are back with a vengeance. They've overtaken college dorms, military barracks, apartment complexes, office buildings and even forced the closure of Niketown's flagship New York store. And they are big business: 258 million dollars in the United States last year, according to the National Pest Management Association. AFP PHOTO / MIRA OBERMAN (Photo credit should read MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY SEBASTIAN SMITH Freedom, a beagle trained by Jeremy Ecker of The Bedbug Inspectors, is trained to sniff out bedbugs, on July 26, 2010 in the Queens borough of New York. Ecker and partner Oscar Rincon keep the live bedbugs in glass vials to train their dogs, that sniff out bedbugs in private homes, apartments and businesses. The tiny blood suckers specialize in feeding off sleeping bodies and this summer in the Big Apple they're enjoying the pickings of their lives, specialists say. After infesting unprecedented numbers of apartments and offices, the pests have branched out, raiding clothing stores and, notoriously, a Victoria's Secret lingerie outlet on Manhattan's posh Upper East Side. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY SEBASTIAN SMITH Freedom, a beagle trained by Jeremy Ecker of The Bedbug Inspectors, demonstrates how he sniffs out bedbugs, on July 26, 2010 in the Queens borough of New York. Ecker and partner Oscar Rincon keep the live bedbugs in glass viles to train their dogs, that sniff out bedbugs in private homes, apartments and businesses. The tiny blood suckers specialize in feeding off sleeping bodies and this summer in the Big Apple they're enjoying the pickings of their lives, specialists say. After infesting unprecedented numbers of apartments and offices, the pests have branched out, raiding clothing stores and, notoriously, a Victoria's Secret lingerie outlet on Manhattan's posh Upper East Side. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 30: Pestec technician Carlos I. Agurto walks with Ladybug, a Beagle trained to sniff out bed bugs, as they inspect a bed in an apartment with bed bugs April 30, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Cases of bed bug infestations are on the rise across the U.S. with many people bringing them into their homes after visiting hotels and airports. Bed bugs feed off of human blood. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Macaroni puts his nose as close as possible to the scent after he detects the fruity aroma of bedbugs. He has been trained to hold the pose to alert handler Walter Penny to the discovery. A vial of bedbugs had been hidden behind the wall outlet for training purposes. Karl Gehring/The Denver Post (Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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