A new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS-One has found that bed bugs are fighting back against our commonly used insecticides partly through a remarkably simple strategy — by growing thicker skin. More accurately, they’re growing a thicker cuticle, the term for its tough fingernail-like exoskeleton.
“Using scanning electron microscopy, the study authors we were able to compare the thickness of cuticle taken from specimens of bed bugs resistant to insecticides and from those more easily killed by those same insecticides,” said David Lilly, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate at the university, in a statement. They found that the more insecticide resistant the bed bugs were, the thicker their cuticles were.
The difference in thickness was seen both when comparing bed bugs belonging to a modern-day strain already resistant to pyrethroids to one another and when comparing them to a preserved strain from the 1960s that was completely susceptible to the chemicals. The most resistant bugs on average had a cuticle 16 percent thicker than their least sturdy counterparts.
Adapted From Medical Daily