Toronto: Biologists from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia have developed the first effective and affordable bait and trap for detecting and monitoring bedbug infestations.
The biggest challenge in dealing with bedbugs is to detect the infestation at an early stage.
“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,” said chemist Gerhard Gries.
Working with chemist Robert Britton and a team of students, Gerhard and his wife Regine Gries finally found the solution - a set of chemical attractants or pheromones that lure the bedbugs into traps and keep them there.
After two years of frustrating false leads, the team finally discovered that histamine, a molecule with unusual properties that eluded identification through traditional methods, signals “safe shelter" to bedbugs.
Importantly, once in contact with the histamine, the bedbugs stay put whether or not they have recently fed on a human host.
The researchers expect the trap to be commercially available next year.
The paper was published in Angewandte Chemie, a leading general chemistry journal.