Biologist Regine Gries endured 180,000 bedbug bites as her team hunted for the ultimate bedbug lure
After 180,000 bedbug bites and eight years of study, Simon Fraser University scientists say they have invented a new kind of bedbug bait and trap.
The trap, which will be available commercially next year, will work by emitting a set of chemical attractants, or pheromones, that lure the bedbugs into traps, and keep them there.
Biologist Regine Gries discovered the pheromones after acting as a host for more than a thousand bedbugs during the research, which also involved her husband, biology professor Gerhard Gries,SFU chemist Robert Britton and a team of students.
“The biggest challenge in dealing with bedbugs is to detect the infestation at an early stage,” said Gerhard Gries in a news release on Monday.
“This trap will help landlords, tenants, and pest-control professionals determine whether premises have a bedbug problem, so that they can treat it quickly. It will also be useful for monitoring the treatment’s effectiveness.”
Regine Gries endured 180,000 bites from the team’s bedbug colony as part of the research, the release said, because she is immune to the bites, getting only a slight rash instead of the usual itching and swelling most people suffer.
Why bedbugs love biting us so much
Bedbugs are wingless pests that feed on humans as their preferred source of blood. The small, flat insects were all but wiped out after the Second World War but have returned with a vengeance to Canadian homes, hotels and shelters.
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