- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Medical Entomology
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Over the past three decades, the bed bug Cimex lectularius has resurged as a prominent indoor pest on a global scale. Knockdown-associated insecticide resistance (kdr) involving the voltage-gated sodium channel, targeted by organochlorine and pyrethroid insecticides, was first reported in C. lectularius within a few years of the widespread use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and has been implicated as a significant factor contributing to the species’ recent resurgence. Since then, selection with pyrethroid insecticides has intensified, yet little is known regarding its short-term impacts on the frequency of kdr-associated mutations. Here, we report temporal changes in the frequencies of three kdr-associated mutations in C. lectularius populations collected across the USA from two time periods, sampled approximately a decade apart. The results reveal a significant increase in the frequencies of kdr-associated mutations over this period and the absence of the insecticide-susceptible genotype in recent collections. Furthermore, a significant transition was observed toward infestations possessing multiple kdr-associated mutations. These findings suggest that the persistent use of pyrethroid insecticides over the past decade continues to impose strong selection pressure on C. lectularius populations, driving the proliferation of kdr-associated mutations. They demonstrate that, if unabated, strong anthropogenic selection can drive the rapid evolution of adaptive traits.more » « less
Abstract Despite awareness of the mutations conferring insecticide resistance in the bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), within the United States few studies address the distribution and frequency of these. Within the United States, studies have focused on collections made along the East Coast and Midwest, documenting the occurrence of two mutations (V419L and L925I) within the voltage-gated sodium channel α-subunit gene shown to be associated with knockdown resistance (kdr) to pyrethroids. Here, the distribution and frequency of the V419L and L925I site variants is reported from infestations sampled within Oklahoma and its immediately adjacent states. Additionally, the presence of a mutation previously undocumented in the United States (I935F) is noted. While novel in the United States, this mutation has previously been reported in Australian and Old World populations. No infestations were found to harbor wild-type individuals, and hence susceptible, at each of the three sites. Instead, ~21% were found to possess the resistant mutation at the L925I site (haplotype B), ~77% had mutations at both the V419L and L925I sites (haplotype C), and 2% possessed the mutation at the L936F site (haplotype Ab). The high frequency of haplotype C corresponds to previous studies in the United States, and contrasts dramatically with those of the Old World and Australia. The data presented here provide insight into the contemporary occurrence of kdr-associated insecticide resistance in the South Central United States, a region for which data have previously been absent. These data suggest that New World and Old World/Australian infestations are likely to have originated from different origins.more » « less
In recent decades, the world has witnessed a remarkable resurgence of bedbugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Although populations of the common bedbug,
Cimex lectulariusL., expanded in temperate regions of its original distribution, the tropical bedbug, C. hemipterus(F.), increased its abundance in warmer regions, where it also had been historically distributed. However, C. hemipterushas recently been observed to be expanding to other areas, e.g. North Australia, Middle East, the United States and Russia. In other parts of Europe, few sporadic and ephemeral introductions of C. hemipteruswere recorded until recently. We conducted an extensive sampling of European bedbug populations starting in 2002 and found that C. hemipterushas recently become locally established. Among 566 examined infestations, nearly all of which involved C. lectularius, C. hemipterusoccurred in six infestations collected since 2019. In at least three cases, the social background of inhabitants of the infested properties indicated that tropical bedbugs likely spread within local communities. Using cytochrome oxidase subunit I, we linked five of the infestations to the most common haplotype found globally, and one to an African haplotype. In all infestations, we observed two kdr‐associated mutations in the sodium channel gene, which are also commonly found across the world.
As populations differentiate across geographic or host‐association barriers, interpopulation fertility is often a measure of the extent of incipient speciation. The bed bug,
Cimex lectulariusL., was recently found to form two host‐associated lineages within Europe: one found with humans (human‐associated, HA) and the other found with bats (bat‐associated, BA). No unequivocal evidence of contemporary gene flow between these lineages has been found; however, it is unclear whether this is due to an inability to produce viable “hybrid” offspring. To address this question and determine the extent of compatibility between host‐associated lineages, we set up mating crosses among populations of bed bugs based on both their host association (human—HA vs. bat—BA) and geographic origin (North America vs. Europe). Within‐population fecundity was significantly higher for all HA populations (>1.7 eggs/day) than for BA populations (<1 egg/day). However, all within‐population crosses, regardless of host association, had >92% egg hatch rates. Contrary to previous reports, in all interlineage crosses, successful matings occurred, fertile eggs were oviposited, and the F1“hybrid” generation was found to be reproductively viable. In addition, we evaluated interpopulation genetic variation in Wolbachiaamong host‐associated lineages. We did not find any clear patterns related to host association, nor did we observe a homogenization of Wolbachialineages across populations that might explain a breakdown of reproductive incompatibility. These results indicate that while the HA and BA populations of C. lectulariusrepresent genetically differentiated host‐associated lineages, possibly undergoing sympatric speciation, this is in its incipient stage as they remain reproductively compatible. Other behavioral, physiological, and/or ecological factors likely maintain host‐associated differentiation.
Widespread vector control has been essential in reducing the global incidence and prevalence of malaria, despite now stalled progress. Long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) have historically been, and remain, one of the most commonly used vector control tools in the campaign against malaria. LLINs are effective only with proper use, adherence, retention and community adoption, which historically have relied on the successful control of secondary pests, including bed bugs. The emergence of pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs in malaria-endemic communities and failure to control infestations have been suggested to interfere with the effective use of LLINs. Therefore, the behavioral interactions of bed bugs with commonly used bed nets should be better understood.
To investigate the interactions between bed bugs (
Cimex lectulariusL.) and LLINs, insecticide-susceptible and pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs were challenged to pass through two commonly used LLINs in two behavioral assays, namely host (blood meal)-seeking and aggregation-seeking assays. The proportions blood-fed and aggregated bed bugs, aggregation time and mortality were quantified and analyzed in different bed bug life stages. Results
Overall, both the insecticide-susceptible bed bugs and highly resistant bed bugs showed a varying ability to pass through LLINs based on treatment status and net design. Deltamethrin-treated nets significantly impeded both feeding and aggregation by the susceptible bed bugs. While none of the tested LLINs significantly impeded feeding (passage of unfed bed bugs through the nets) of the pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs, the untreated bed net, which has small mesh holes, impeded passage of fed bed bugs. Mortality was only seen in the susceptible bed bugs, with significantly higher mortality on deltamethrin-treated nets (63.5 ± 10.7%) than on permethrin-treated nets (2.0 ± 0.9%).
Commonly used new LLINs failed to prevent the passage of susceptible and pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs in host- and aggregation-seeking bioassays. The overall low and variable mortality observed in susceptible bed bugs during both assays highlighted the potential of LLINs to impose strong selection pressure for the evolution of pyrethroid resistance. Already, the failure to control bed bug infestations has been implicated as a contributing factor to the abandonment or misuse of LLINs. For the first time to our knowledge, we have shown the potential of LLINs in selecting for resistant secondary pest populations and so their potential role in stalling malaria control programs should be further investigated.
The emergence of pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs in malaria-endemic communities may interfere with the effective use of pyrethroid-impregnated bed nets. We assessed the interactions of two bed bug strains with commonly used bed nets using two behavioral assays, namely host (blood meal)-seeking by unfed bed bugs and aggregation-seeking by freshly fed bed bugs. These assays assessed the passage of bed bugs through various bed nets in response to host cues and aggregation stimuli, respectively. Conditioned paper is a section of file folder paper that has been exposed to bed bugs and has been impregnated with feces and aggregation pheromone; it is attractive to aggregation-seeking fed bed bugs. An unconditioned ramp is a similar section of file folder paper that allows bed bugs to traverse the bed net and gain access to a blood-meal source.