Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Medical Entomology (2018)
The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) has resurged as one of the most troublesome household pests affecting people across the globe. Bed bug infestations have increased in recent years primarily due to the evolution of insecticide resistance and the insect’s ability to hitchhike with travelers. vATPases are one of the most evolutionarily conserved holoenzymes in eukaryotes, which are mainly involved in proton transport across the plasma membranes and intracellular organelles. RNA interference (RNAi) has been developed as a promising tool for insect control. In this study, we used RNAi as an approach to knock down subunits A and E of the vATPase gene of bed bugs. Delivery of 0.2 μg/insect of dsRNA specific to vATPase-A and vATPase-E into female bed bugs dramatically impaired the laying and viability of eggs over time. Injection of the vATPase-E dsRNA decreased survival of the bed bugs over 30 d. Our results also showed that the knockdown of mRNA is highly effective and persistent up to 30 d post injection. This research demonstrated that silencing of the two vATPase subunits A and E offers a potential strategy to suppress bed bug populations.