Multiple Mechanisms Conferring Broad-Spectrum Insecticide Resistance in the Tropical Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)

J Econ Entomol. 2021 Dec 6;114(6):2473-2484. doi: 10.1093/jee/toab205.


The modern resurgence of the common (Cimex lectularius L.) and tropical bed bugs (C. hemipterus [F.]) is thought to be primarily due to insecticide resistance. While there are many reports on insecticide resistance mechanisms in C. lectularius, such information in C. hemipterus is limited. We examined dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), malathion, deltamethrin, permethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin resistance, and the underlying mechanisms in several C. hemipterus strains (Australia: Queensland [QLD-AU]; Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur [KL-MY], Tanjung Tokong [TT-MY], Christian [CH-MY], and Green Lane [GL-MY]). We used a surface contact method, synergism studies (utilizing piperonyl butoxide [PBO], S,S,S-tributyl phosphorotrithioate [DEF], and diethyl maleate [DEM]), and molecular detection of kdr mutations. Results demonstrated that all C. hemipterus strains possessed high resistance to DDT and the pyrethroids and moderate to high resistance to malathion. Synergism studies showed that deltamethrin resistance in all strains was significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited by PBO. In contrast, deltamethrin resistance was not affected in DEF or DEM. Similar findings were found with lambda-cyhalothrin resistance. Malathion resistance was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by DEF in all strains. Resistance to DDT was not affected by DEM in all strains. Multiple kdr mutations (M918I, D953G, and L1014F) were detected by molecular analyses. TT-MY strain was found with individuals possessing three kdr mutation combinations; D953G + L1014F (homozygous susceptible: M918), M918I + D953G + L1014F (heterozygous resistant: I918), and M918I + D953G + L1014F (homozygous resistant: I918). Individuals with M918I + D953G + L1014F (homozygous resistant: I918) survived longer on deltamethrin (>12 h) than those (≤1 h) with other combinations. M918I + L1014F mutations most likely conferred super-kdr characteristic toward pyrethroids and DDT in C. hemipterus.

Keywords: kdr; super-kdr; cytochrome P450; esterase; synergism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bedbugs*
  • Insecticide Resistance / genetics
  • Insecticides* / pharmacology
  • Permethrin
  • Piperonyl Butoxide
  • Pyrethrins*


  • Insecticides
  • Pyrethrins
  • Permethrin
  • Piperonyl Butoxide