With the recent global resurgence of the bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.), there is a need to better understand its biology, ecology, and ability to establish populations. Bed bugs are domestic pests that feed mainly on mammalian blood. Although bed bugs have not been implicated as vectors of pathogens, their biting activity inflicts severe insomnia and allergic reactions. Moreover, they have recently developed resistance to various insecticides, which requires further molecular research to determine genetic variation and appropriate interventions. Population dynamics, including genetic differentiation and genetic distance of 10 populations from the Midwest were analyzed in this study. The bed bug samples collected by pest control companies were genotyped using eight species-specific microsatellite markers. Results showed all eight markers were polymorphic, with 8–16 alleles per locus, suggesting high genetic diversity. The FST values were >0.25, signifying pronounced genetic differentiation. The G-test results also indicated high genetic differentiation among populations. The frequency of the most common allele across all eight loci was 0.42. The coefficient of relatedness between each of the populations was >0.5, indicative of sibling or parent—offspring relationships, while the FIS and its confidence interval values were statistically insignificant within the populations tested. The populations departed from Hardy—Weinberg equilibrium, possibly because of high heterozygosity. The genetic distance analysis using a neighbor-joining tree showed that the populations from Kansas City, MO, were genetically separate from most of those from Nebraska, indicating a geographic pattern of genetic structure. Our study demonstrated the effectiveness of using microsatellite markers to study bed bugs population structure, thereby improving our understanding of bed bug population dynamics in the Midwest. Overall, this study showed a high genetic diversity and identified several new alleles in the bed bug populations in the Midwest.
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Vol. 52 • No. 4