Bed bugs are harder than ever to get rid of

By Raffaella Ciccarelli

The development of thicker skin is one way bed bugs could have learnt to combat sprays. Photo / Getty
The development of thicker skin is one way bed bugs could have learnt to combat sprays. Photo / Getty

Bed bugs. They're a blight on this fair earth and the scourge of hospitality and tourism sectors worldwide.

These creepy-crawly blood suckers do a lot more than produce nasty bites; they cost a fair amount of pretty pennies to beat - not to mention sleepless nights.

A new study conducted by the University of Sydney is about to improve our understanding of the insects, and hopefully help us eradicate the pesky buggers once and for all.

University of Sydney PhD candidate, David Lilly, has discovered that thick-skinned bed bugs are more resistant to commonly used bug sprays. By comparing the skin of bed bugs - an exoskeleton called a cuticle - David Lilly found that the thicker the cuticle the more likely the bed bugs were to survive exposure to pesticides.

In fact, he says the development of thicker skin is one way bed bugs could have learnt to combat the sprays.

"The new findings could explain why failures in the control of bed bug infestations are so common. They may also unlock new pathways to developing more effective insecticides for bed bug control," Mr Lilly said in a press release.

He adds, "If we understand the biological mechanisms bed bugs use to beat insecticides, we may be able to spot a chink in their armour that we can exploit with new strategies."

One can only hope these new strategies come quickly. Until then sleep tight - just don't let the bed bugs bite.

- news.com.au

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