Bed Bug Problem May Finally Be Solved with a Better Bed Bug Trap

Bed bug problem
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Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door is a familiar saying among inventors and researchers that is a metaphor about the power of innovation. However, in a news report from Stony Brook University, that better mouse trap is actually a better bed bug trap that could be the final solution for people with bed bug woes.

Contrary to what many believe, bed bug infestation is not so much about cleanliness as it is about how the world has grown smaller with affordable air travel. All it takes is for one passenger staying one night in a hotel with bed bugs to become the literal carrier of the pest as the traveler’s luggage makes its way with subsequent visits from city to city and then to home. Luggage is an ideal hiding place for bed bugs with its small crevices and odor of human scent that attracts bed bugs.

Because of the travel and luggage connection with new infestations, travel and health authorities advise travelers not to bring their suitcases inside their home after a trip until their suitcases have been thoroughly washed or placed in a plastic bag for several days inside a freezer to insure killing off any stowaway pests.

According to the CDC, evidence of a new infestation may not be evident until it is too late because signs of a bed bug bite may not develop on your skin for up to 2 weeks after being bitten. If you suspect that a new bite mark may be from a bed bug, look for the following signs in your home:

• Bed bugs exoskeletons from molting on your bedding

• Bed bugs in the folds of mattresses and sheets

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• Rusty-colored blood spots due to the blood-filled fecal material they excrete on bedding and furniture

• A sweet musty odor on your bedding

Up till now, an exterminator trained in chemical pest control was your best bet for ridding your home of these pests. However, commercialization of a chemical-free, non-toxic bed bug solution that is simple and effective could be made available at your local store in the near future.

According to the Stony Brook University news release, a nanotechnology approach to the bed bug problem led to the development of man-made fibers formed into a net-like material. The fibrous net strands are so fine that whenever a bed bug or other type of insects comes in contact with it, they become hopelessly entangled and cannot escape.

“Our nanotechnology produces entanglements that are millions of times more dense than woven products such as fabrics or carpets,” said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Co-Director in the Program of Chemical and Molecular Engineering at Stony Brook University. “The microfibers trap them by attaching to microstructures on their legs taking away their ability to move, which stops them from feeding and reproducing.”

However, this is not the first attempt to stop bed bugs dead in their tracks with leg traps as they scurry about a bedroom in search of a blood meal. In an earlier report, scientists rediscovered an old Balkan folk remedy for bed bug bite protection that used kidney bean leaves. Kidney bean leaves have microscopic hooked hairs called “trichomes” that essentially impale the legs and feet of bedbugs as they crawl about, thereby trapping the bedbugs. At last report, researchers were still working out the bugs of their micro fabricated materials consisting of artificial trichomes that although did slow the bed bugs down, did not effectively stop them as hoped.

Thus far, successful test results have been achieved pitting live bed bugs and termites against the new microfiber trap designed by Stony Brook scientists. A video demonstrating the bed bug trap’s effectiveness is available online.

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: Stony Brook News “Innovative New Nanotechnology Stops Bed Bugs in Their Tracks―Literally”

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