If you have been using insecticides to combat against insects like bed bugs, you might want to think again. A recent study has been published stating that bed bugs can resist the chemicals and even break them down. Until there are new household available insecticides created, we recommend leaving removal up to the professionals!
There are many reasons why bed bugs have made a comeback in recent decades, and their resistance to commonly used insecticides is one of the most widely accepted explanations.
In a new paper published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, scientists from the University of Sydney and NSW Health Pathology describe how bed bugs are able to resist pyrethroid insecticides via metabolic detoxification, the process by which bed bugs break down insecticides.
The researchers focused on two types of detoxification enzymes, which are broadly known as esterases and oxidases. These two types of enzymes change the chemical composition of insecticides so that they’re less harmful to the insect.
To understand which enzyme type might be responsible for resistance to commonly used insecticides, chemicals called synergists can be used. Synergists can inhibit or lower the levels of detoxifying enzymes, thereby increasing the toxicity of the insecticide. By using different types of synergists, it is possible to determine which enzymes may be present.
One of the most widely used synergists is a chemical called piperonyl butoxide (or PBO), which can inhibit both esterases and oxidases, but that ability in turn makes it hard to determine which enzyme type is contributing to the resistance.
However, a new synergist known as EN16/5-1 only inhibits oxidases, and not esterases, so it provides an opportunity to investigate the role of metabolic resistance and to determine which enzyme type may be responsible for resistance.