With all the bad things that people say about bed bugs (in fact, I have never heard a good thing said about them) it should be no surprise that bed bugs have “thick skin.” But researchers have found that it is more than just an ability to laugh off mean things said about them. Literally, a bed bug’s skin
(outer cuticle) is getting thicker.
Researchers at the University of Sydney (Australia has experienced a major resurgence of bed bugs) recently discovered that bed bugs are evolving to become increasingly resistant to chemicals, particularly over-the-counter products. This thicker cuticle actually protects the bugs, allowing them to survive constant exposure to many insecticides. This gives us one more scientific reason why the vast majority of products available to consumers just don’t work and why even some professional products have lost their efficacy against bed bugs.
So what is a person battling bed bugs supposed to do in light of this information?
First, don’t use the over-the-counter products. A leading researcher at a recent conference I attended stated that the over-the-counter products are more harmful to you and your pets than the bugs. While tempting, and while those products might work for other insects, science, research, and thousands of failed attempts using the over-the-counter products have shown that they just don’t work to get rid of bed bugs.
Second, make sure you are working with a company who keeps up on the latest research. There are entire classes of pesticides that were once the industry standard for bed bug extermination that are no longer used largely due to the resistance issue. Third, keep in mind when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, heat is your friend. Bed bugs are not resistant to heat, making heat treatments a good choice for bed bug removal.
If you currently dealing with bed bugs, please know that even in light of this new research, there are still highly effective treatments available –both pesticide and bed bug heat treatments. The take away from this new research is that in the effort to eradicate bed bugs, we will have to work hard to stay one step ahead of these sturdy bugs.