Bed bugs developing ‘thicker skin’ to beat insecticides
This headline demonstrates a basic misunderstand of how the theory of evolution is said to work. It implies that the developing of the ‘thick skin’ was a purposeful action to overcome an adversary. When in fact is is another good example of selective breading not of evolution. The insecticides kill off all the bugs with the thin skins leaving only the ones with the thicker skins to breed more bugs. Only their thick skin offspring will survive the insecticides to make more bugs.
Here is the headline of the paper that the USA Today’s headline is referring to:
Cuticle Thickening in a Pyrethroid-Resistant Strain of the Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)
Thickening of the integument as a mechanism of resistance to insecticides is a well recognised phenomenon in the insect world and, in recent times, has been found in insects exhibiting pyrethroid-resistance. Resistance to pyrethroid insecticides in the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., is widespread and has been frequently inferred as a reason for the pest’s resurgence. Overexpression of cuticle depositing proteins has been demonstrated in pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs although, to date, no morphological analysis of the cuticle has been undertaken in order to confirm a phenotypic link. This paper describes examination of the cuticle thickness of a highly pyrethroid-resistant field strain collected in Sydney, Australia, in response to time-to-knockdown upon forced exposure to a pyrethroid insecticide. Mean cuticle thickness was positively correlated to time-to-knockdown, with significant differences observed between bugs knocked-down at 2 hours, 4 hours, and those still unaffected at 24 hours. Further analysis also demonstrated that the 24 hours survivors possessed a statistically significantly thicker cuticle when compared to a pyrethroid-susceptible strain of C. lectularius. This study demonstrates that cuticle thickening is present within a pyrethroid-resistant strain of C.lectularius and that, even within a stable resistant strain, cuticle thickness will vary according to time-to-knockdown upon exposure to an insecticide. This response should thus be considered in future studies on the cuticle of insecticide-resistant bed bugs and, potentially, other insects.
The results of the developing a ‘thicker skin’ bug is no different than when a breeder want to develop a new breed of dog. He, the breeder, selects the dogs with the characteristic he wishes to develop in his new breed, be it largeness, smallness, strength, aggression, or docility. He then culls the dogs with the unwanted characteristic and breed only the ones he believes will go on to produce the type of dog he wants for his new breed. Selective breeding will never produce anything but a dog.
Instead of a breeder selecting which bug will live to breed a new bug, the insecticide does the selecting, and this selection will never anything but another bug.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”…
When they show an example of a dog becoming something other than a dog, or a bed bug becoming something other that a bed bug I will concede that evolution is the driving force of creation, but un thin then I will take that old time religion for my explanation.