Science
11:36 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Bedbug Research Looks to Old Techniques

Bedbug
Credit Wikimedia commons

   An age old remedy for bedbugs is now the subject of a new high tech study being conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky and the University of California, Irvine.  

The team’s mission involves replicating the action of tiny microscopic plant hairs called trichomes, which are located on the surface of bean leaves and trap the bedbugs as they walk across the surface of the leaf.  UK Entomology professor Mike Potter says centuries ago Eastern Europeans would sprinkle the leaves on their floors to stop the biting insects dead in their tracks:

"The first step was trying to better determine exactly how the bean leaves were entrapping the bedbugs and then it was a matter of trying to synthesize or make a synthetic version of this."

Bedbugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U-S in recent years as the highly adaptable insects have proven resistant to commercial prevention methods including freezing, extreme heating, vacuuming and pesticides.  The team’s findings are published online in the Journal of the Royal Society interface.