Bedbugs have terrorized homeowners and tourists around the world, but US researchers say their genetic analyses of the beasts may lead to better ways to kill them off.
Entomologists at Ohio State University found genes that appear to be pesticide-resistant, according to their findings published on Wednesday in the online Public Library of Science. “Pinpointing such defence mechanisms and the associated genes could lead to the development of novel methods of control that are more effective,” said study co-author Omprakash Mittapalli, assistant professor of entomology.
The study was funded by the US government and carried out at the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “While bedbugs are poised to become one of the major household pests across the United States in the coming years, we know very little about their genetic makeup and their mechanisms of resistance to insecticides,” said Mittapalli.
No one has escaped the infestation, including luxury hotels in New York and Paris, costing billions of dollars annually in extermination efforts by businesses and homeowners.