Courtesy of Hopelessnomo, who mentioned this in another thread’s comments, it appears that Texas A and M researchers have an interesting theory about how at least some strains of bed bugs came back (under this theory, I don’t mean “back to the US,” I mean back to humans).
Collaboration between Texas A&M Center for Urban & Structural Entomology and the University of Arkansas Insect Genetics laboratory is revealing important clues concerning the reasons for the current resurgence of bed bugs around the world and here in the United States. We are also cooperating with Virginia Tech University on molecular forensic studies which can assist in the identification of hosts for criminal investigations (see molecular diagnostic gel below). Because most registered pesticides currently labeled for bed bug control continue to have control issues, we are also investigating relationships between resistance and specific populations that appear to have elevated levels of insecticide resistance. Molecular investigations of these types will provide valuable information about the scope and nature of bed bug resurgence and offer possible reasons for this emerging pest problem.
Tha TAMU information then gets even more interesting:
One scenario that appears to have merit concerns geographic epicenters where bed bugs radiate from. In our preliminary investigations we have found significant populations occurring in poultry facilities in Arkansas and Texas, and we suspect that resistant populations of bed bugs have slowly increased in numbers in facilities such as these, and have subsequently been transported from poultry workers to other areas where they have subsequently spread. Population genetic studies of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA reveal no genetic bottlenecks, yet significant variation with no apparent geographic structure with 19 distinct mtDNA haplotypes from only 50 populations from throughout the United States (see below). For this reason, we believe that populations never truly died out in the United States, but were forced to alternate their hosts. Ongoing research on host identification from blood meals of bed bugs is currently being investigated to support this hypothesis.
All preliminary and theoretical, but nonetheless very interesting. You can read the rest here. And via hopelessnomo, again:
We are glad that bed bug research in many areas is flourishing. Now if only bed bug research were to become as popular a career for young people as criminal forensics is becoming, we might see more solutions of our “little problem,” much, much faster.