Insecticide resistance in the bed bug comes with a cost

Jennifer R. Gordon, Michael F. Potter, Kenneth F. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Adaptation to new environmental stress is often associated with an alteration of one or more life history parameters. Insecticide resistant populations of insects often have reduced fitness relative to susceptible populations in insecticide free environments. Our previous work showed that three populations of bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L., evolved significantly increased levels of resistance to one product containing both β-cyfluthrin and imidacloprid insecticides with only one generation of selection, which gave us an opportunity to explore potential tradeoffs between life history parameters and resistance using susceptible and resistant strains of the same populations. Life history tables were compiled by collecting weekly data on mortality and fecundity of bugs from each strain and treatment throughout their lives. Selection led to a male-biased sex ratio, shortened oviposition period, and decreased life-time reproductive rate. Generation time was shortened by selection, a change that represents a benefit rather than a cost. Using these life history characteristics we calculated that there would be a 90% return to pre-selection levels of susceptibility within 2- 6.5 generations depending on strain. The significant fitness costs associated with resistance suggest that insecticide rotation or utilization of non-insecticidal control tactics could be part of an effective resistance management strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10807
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - Jun 3 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Reshma Anilkumar, Scott Bessin, Richard Biemiller, Sydney Crawley, Mark Goodman, Abiya Saeed and Shelby Stamper for technical assistance, and Drs. Charles Fox and David Westneat for advice on statistics. J.R.G. was partly supported by an Urban Entomology Fellowship from the Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. This is paper no. 15-08-027 of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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