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Bed bugs

Pesticides give rise to mutant bed bugs

Saturday, January 22, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: bed bugs, pesticides, health news

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(NaturalNews) Bedbugs are coming back with a vengeance, and a new study out of Ohio State University says that pesticides and insecticides are at least jointly responsible for spawning a new breed of mutant bedbugs that is genetically-resistant to the very chemicals commonly used to eradicate it..

Pesticide resistance is hardly a new phenomenon, as it has been known for years that genetically-modified (GM) crops and the pesticides used to cultivate them are responsible for the emergence of pesticide-resistant "superweeds" (http://www.naturalnews.com/027642_geneticall...). And the same is true for the overuse of antibiotics, which have led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" (http://www.naturalnews.com/028479_superbugs_...).

But now the scourge of modern chemical interventions has actual bugs to grow resistant, and made them stronger than ever at evading efforts to eliminate them.

Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the study reveals that there is a clear genetic difference between bedbugs exposed to pesticides, and bedbugs not exposed to pesticides. While they hope to come up with a way to target the expression of that specific gene in order to prevent pesticide-resistance, it seems more logical to simply discontinue use of the offending pesticides.

Bedbugs have been a non-issue for many decades now, as they seemed to have phased out. But their recent reemergence has many in the scientific community looking for answers. Some blame the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 1972 ban on DDT, a synthetic chemical pesticide. Others blame the use of such pesticides in the first place as responsible.

Interestingly, as annoying as the pests are in every other area of life, bedbugs have actually been used in ancient Chinese medicine to treat bacterial infections and skin wounds. Peggy Thomas explains in her book Medicines From Nature that "[t]he old Chinese remedy of pounding seven bedbugs, mixing them with cooked rice, and applying the paste to infected sores was probably effective for stopping the spread of infection, and it helped ... wound[s] heal faster."

Sources for this story include:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/scientist-study...
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