Bucking the bed bug boom
In the bitter Battle of the Bedbugs, only the Balkans seem to have an answer — essentially leave them.
That is, trap them on bean leaves scattered around the bed, and then burn them — sometimes pounds of them at a time.
In the 1940s, bedbugs were almost wiped out by pesticides, much easier to administer than bean leaves. But the bad boys became immune and were born again — in force.
So where some are developing technology to fight wars with human enemies, others are developing technology to bushwhack the barrage of blood-sucking bedbugs.
A study published recently in The Journal of the Royal Society Interface describes an effort to create synthetic material with the bug-catching properties of bean leaves. Unfortunately, those efforts have come up short — so far.
The challenge is to produce material with tiny hooks simulating those on bean leaves, which impale the legs of bedbugs and hold them fast.
In attempts by Catherine Loudon, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in (you’re reading it correctly) bedbug locomotion, the insects didn’t always get stuck.
She isn’t discouraged, though. The next iteration of her work, she said, “must incorporate mechanical characteristics of whole trichomes.”
And as burgeoning numbers of beastly bedbugs continue to befuddle exterminators and bedevil sleepers, she can’t do her work quickly enough.