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Putting bedbugs to bed forever

PostMessage posted...: Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:19 pm
by smix
Putting bedbugs to bed forever
ScienceDaily

URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 103113.htm
Category: healthNews
Published: Wed, 24 Dec 2014 10:31:13 EST

Description: A team of scientists has found a way to conquer the global bedbug epidemic. By lending their own arms for thousands of bed bug bites, they have finally found the solution -- a set of chemical attractants, or pheromones, that lure the bedbugs into traps, and keep them there. The world owes a debt of gratitude to Simon Fraser University biologist Regine Gries. Her arms have provided a blood meal for more than a thousand bedbugs each week for five years while she and her husband, biology professor Gerhard Gries, searched for a way to conquer the global bedbug epidemic. Working with SFU chemist Robert Britton and a team of students, they have finally found the solution--a set of chemical attractants, or pheromones, that lure the bedbugs into traps, and keep them there. This month, after a series of successful trials in bedbug-infested apartments in Metro Vancouver, they have published their research, "Bedbug aggregation pheromone finally identified," in Angewandte Chemie, a general chemistry journal. They're working with Victoria-based Contech Enterprises Inc. to develop the first effective and affordable bait and trap for detecting and monitoring bedbug infestations. They expect it to be commercially available next year. "The biggest challenge in dealing with bedbugs is to detect the infestation at an early stage," says Gerhard, who holds an NSERC-Industrial Research Chair in Multimodal Animal Communication Ecology. "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." It's a solution the world has been waiting for. Over the last two decades the common bedbug (Cimex lectularius), once thought eradicated in industrialized countries, has reappeared as a global scourge. These nasty insects are infesting not just low-income housing but also expensive hotels and apartments, and public venues such as stores, movie theatres, libraries and even public transit. And while these blood-sucking pests were previously not considered a carrier of disease, scientists have recently discovered they can transmit the pathogen that causes Chagas disease, which is prevalent in Central and South America. Yet until now, tools for detecting and monitoring these pests have been expensive and technically challenging to use. The research was funded with a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada industry grant in partnership with Contech Enterprises Inc.