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Bedbug battle: study suggests insects developed thicker skin to beat insecticides

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WATCH: The thicker the skin, the more likely the bedbugs are going to survive. So how did researchers figure this out? – Apr 15, 2016

Bedbugs can be a nightmare for homeowners and travellers alike. The creepy-crawly blood suckers can do a lot more than produce nasty bites; they can cost a pretty penny to get rid of.

A new study by the University of Sydney suggests bedbugs have developed a thicker skin as part of the insect’s evolution.

Published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, researchers said the creatures have grown thicker skin on their exoskeleton to help combat insecticides used by humans to exterminate them.

That could explain why getting rid of the bugs in the sheets has become increasingly harder over the years.

READ MORE: Climate change could bring venomous snakes slithering to Canada: study

Lead researcher David Lilly found that the thicker the skin the more likely the bedbugs were to survive exposure to bug sprays.

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Researchers sprayed groups of bedbugs with insecticide, then separated them into categories, the intolerant, the tolerant and the resistant, and measured the bugs’ hard outer layer.

They found that there was a correlation between the thickness of the skin and the spray resistance.

But the findings could hopefully help us eradicate the pesky bugs in the future.

“If we understand the biological mechanisms bedbugs use to beat insecticides, we may be able to spot a chink in their armour that we can exploit with new strategies.”

But until then, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

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