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Title: Resistance to Fipronil in the Common Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)
Abstract Cimex lectularius L. populations have been documented worldwide to be resistant to pyrethroids and neonicotinoids, insecticides that have been widely used to control bed bugs. There is an urgent need to discover new active ingredients with different modes of action to control bed bug populations. Fipronil, a phenylpyrazole that targets the GABA receptor, has been shown to be highly effective on bed bugs. However, because fipronil shares the same target site with dieldrin, we investigated the potential of fipronil resistance in bed bugs. Resistance ratios in eight North American populations and one European population ranged from 1.4- to >985-fold, with highly resistant populations on both continents. We evaluated metabolic resistance mechanisms mediated by cytochrome P450s, esterases, carboxylesterases, and glutathione S-transferases using synergists and a combination of synergists. All four detoxification enzyme classes play significant but variable roles in bed bug resistance to fipronil. Suppression of P450s and esterases with synergists eliminated resistance to fipronil in highly resistant bed bugs. Target-site insensitivity was evaluated by sequencing a fragment of the Rdl gene to detect the A302S mutation, known to confer resistance to dieldrin and fipronil in other species. All nine populations were homozygous for the wild-type genotype (susceptible phenotype). Highly more » resistant populations were also highly resistant to deltamethrin, suggesting that metabolic enzymes that are responsible for pyrethroid detoxification might also metabolize fipronil. It is imperative to understand the origins of fipronil resistance in the development or adoption of new active ingredients and implementation of integrated pest management programs. « less
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Hribar, Lawrence
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Journal of Medical Entomology
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract Background

    The common bed bug,CimexlectulariusL., is a hematophagous ectoparasite that was a common pest in poultry farms through the 1960s. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and organophosphates eradicated most infestations, but concurrent with their global resurgence as human ectoparasites, infestations of bed bugs have been reappearing in poultry farms. Although the impact of bed bugs on chicken health has not been quantified, frequent biting and blood-feeding are expected to cause stress, infections and even anemia in birds. Bed bug control options are limited due to the sensitive nature of the poultry environment, limited products labeled for bed bug control and resistance of bed bug populations to a broad spectrum of active ingredients. Veterinary drugs are commonly used to control endo- and ectoparasites in animals. In this study, we evaluated the effects of two common veterinary drugs on bed bugs by treating the host with systemic antiparasitic drugs.


    We conducted dose–response studies of ivermectin and fluralaner against several bed bug strains using a membrane feeding system. Also, different doses of these drugs were given to chickens and two delivery methods (topical treatment and ingestion) were used to evaluate the efficacy of ivermectin and fluralaner on bed bug mortality.


    Using an artificial feeding system, bothmore »ivermectin and fluralaner caused high mortality in insecticide-susceptible bed bugs, and fluralaner was found to be effective on pyrethroid- and fipronil-resistant bed bugs. Ivermectin was ineffective in chickens either by the topical treatment or ingestion, whereas bed bugs that fed on chickens which had ingested fluralaner suffered high mortality when feeding on these chickens for up to 28 days post treatment.


    These findings suggest that systemic ectoparasitic drugs have great potential for practical use to control bed bug infestations in poultry farms. These findings also demonstrate the efficacy of fluralaner (and potentially other isoxazolines) as a potent new active ingredient for bed bug control.

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  2. Abstract Background

    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.


    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 andmore »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.

    Graphical Abstract

    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.

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  4. Abstract

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