Bedbugs Scoff at Our Puny Pesticides

They just keep getting better at building up resistance
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2011 1:54 PM CST
FILE- This 2008 file photo provided by Virginia Tech Department of Entomology shows two bedbugs. Even if you've never encountered a bedbug, the mere mention of the word probably makes you itchy.   (AP Photo/Virginia Tech Department of Entomology, Tim McCoy, FILE)

(Newser) – Bedbugs are starting to take on the characteristics of comic book villains. The first comprehensive study shows that as we keep dosing them with pesticides, they keep getting stronger, reports the Wall Street Journal. They've quickly developed natural defenses on three fronts—better nerve centers to fight off the chemicals, more enzymes to detoxify them, and even thicker shells to block them. In other words, they're not going away anytime soon.

"These bugs have several back doors open to escape," says one evolutionary entomologist. "Simple spraying around of some pesticides may not (be enough) now or in the future." The study helps explain why the critters have spread so quickly over the last decade. Let's hope they don't share their tricks with the stinkbugs.

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