When I first heard the term “resistance” to pesticides, I thought of it as a mild immunity that permitted bed bugs to live through a chemical application. I was sort of right and sort of wrong. Here are the facts…
Resistance in the scientific world means something very specific. It is the truest definition of the term survival of the fittest. Resistance is the measurable lessening of the effectiveness of a pesticide as a result of previous exposure of a pest population to that pesticide or related types. The pesticide is the agent of selection in the population. Resistance develops most frequently and rapidly in insects with high rates of reproduction – like the bed bug. So resistance is not immunity where there is an internal adaptation by one individual, but the physical selection of the strongest and most adaptable. This has been acutely reflected in the bed bug’s cross-resistance to pyrethroids. Once they became resistant to DDT, it gave them an ability to resist the pyrethroids available today.
So what should we do today? Stop spraying bed bugs! We are only creating stronger and more hardy populations. Heat is the most effective tool in bed bug elimination – and they cannot develop a resistance to it. So stop creating superbugs and start killing them!
May the Heat Be With You!