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Bed Bugs That Feed After Pesticide Exposure More Likely To Survive, Study Reveals

First Posted: Jan 26, 2016 02:37 PM EST

Tired of those bed bugs? They never seem to die or just go away. Researchers at Rutgers University found in a study that bed bugs that fed are being treated with pesticides had greater survival rates or took longer to die compared to bedbugs that did not feed after being treated.

"Many of the insecticides labeled for bed bug control may not be as effective as claimed, because of the inadequate testing method," Dr. Narinderpal Singh, coauthor of the study, said in a news release. "Current established test protocols for bed bug insecticides do not provide blood meals to bed bugs during the test period. We suspect the mortality data typically observed might be different if the tested bed bugs were provided a blood meal during the observation period."

The researchers found that bedbugs that were unable to feed after being treated with an insecticide had a 94 percent mortality rate. Bed bugs that fed after being sprayed with the same insecticide had a four percent mortality rate after 11 days.

Many experiments on the efficiency of insecticides on bedbugs are conducted in labs and bed bugs are not feed after being exposed to a pesticide. In the field, bed bugs are capable of feeding after being sprayed with an insecticide. This reduces or slows down mortality rates, which gives them time to reproduce.

The researchers claimed that feeding after being sprayed "stimulates detoxification enzymes responsible for insecticide resistance," which allows beg bugs to survive once they had a blood meal.

The researchers urge that insecticide efficacy testing methods be changed and that they include fed bugs or bugs that are fed one to three days after being treated. This new approach could produce better outcomes when treating bed bugs.

The findings of this study were published Journal of Medical Entomology.

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