High Levels of Resistance in the Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), to Neonicotinoid Insecticides

J Med Entomol. 2016 May;53(3):727-731. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjv253. Epub 2016 Jan 28.


The rapid increase of bed bug populations resistant to pyrethroids demands the development of novel control tactics. Products combining pyrethroids and neonicotinoids have become very popular for bed bug control in the United States, but there are concerns about evolution of resistance to these compounds. Laboratory assays were used to measure the toxicity of topical applications of four neonicotinoids to a susceptible population and three pyrethroid-resistant populations. Activity of esterases, glutathione S-transferases, and cytochrome P450s of all strains was also evaluated. High levels of resistance to four neonicotinoids, acetamiprid, imidacloprid, dinotefuran, and thiamethoxam, relative to the susceptible Fort Dix population, were detected in populations collected from human dwellings in Cincinnati and Michigan. Because activity of detoxifying enzymes was increased in these two populations, our results suggest that these enzymes have some involvement in neonicotinoid resistance, but other resistance mechanisms might be involved as well. Detection of high levels of resistance to neonicotinoids further limits the options for chemical control of bed bugs.

Keywords: bed bug; detoxifying enzyme; insecticide combination; insecticide resistance; neonicotinoid.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bedbugs / drug effects*
  • Guanidines / pharmacology
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • Insecticide Resistance*
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds / pharmacology
  • Oxazines / pharmacology
  • Pyrethrins / pharmacology
  • Thiamethoxam
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology
  • United States


  • Guanidines
  • Imidazoles
  • Insecticides
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds
  • Oxazines
  • Pyrethrins
  • Thiazoles
  • dinotefuran
  • imidacloprid
  • Thiamethoxam