Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to Implement Your Very Own Bed Bug Detector at Home

Upon further research of bed bugs, I discovered a way that we at home can detect bed bugs. VLE-B

Spotting bed bugs early can make removal efforts much easier.
In the January 16, 2010 issue of Science News, Susan Milius wrote a story about a new low-cost, homemade bed bug detector. According to the article, researchers tried nearly 50 arrangements of household objects before Wan-Tien Tsai of Rutgers University found the combination that worked.

Tsai added about a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of dry ice pellets into an insulated, 1/3 gallon jug, such as the type found at sports or camping stores. She left the pour hole open slightly, enough to release a tantalizing leak of carbon dioxide to attract the bed bugs.

She then stood the jug in a cat food dish onto which she taped a piece of paper to serve as a ramp for the bugs. The food dish was dusted on the inside with talcum powder to create a slippery surface that the bugs could not crawl out of once they were lured in.

As good or better than heat or chemical attractants

Placing about kilogram of dry ice into a jug like this one can create a carbon dioxide plume to attract bed bugs.
According to Tsai, apartment tests showed that the home-made device “detected bed bugs as well, or better, than did two brands of professional exterminating equipment.” Her colleague, Changlu Wang, assisted in the experiment with previous studies of dry ice in travel mugs. The bed bugs are attracted to the plumes of carbon dioxide which indicate that a live host is somewhere nearby. In six months of tests at Rutgers, the team determined from lab tests that “carbon dioxide beat heat and several chemical attractants in drawing the bugs out of hiding.”

After performing well in lap tests, Tsai placed the detectors in apartments where there were no visual indicaitons of bed bugs. According to the Science News article, “She set either her homemade detector or a commercial one in each apartment near a typical bug haven, such as the sofa.”

New studies for old problem
Tsai’s work has been praised by entomologists (scientests who study bugs). “During decades of low bed-bug infestations, scientists didn’t study them much,” says Stephen Kells of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. “We have literally skipped a generation of knowledge with this pest.”

The work will replace studies from early in the last century when bed bug infestations were common. The bed bugs weren’t resistant to pesticides and lived in environments without central heating. Although the new generation of bed bugs are increasingly pesticide-resistant, entomologist Andrea Polanco-Pinz√≥n of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg offers good news from her survival tests of the critters: a pesticide-resistant strain she collected lived at most two months without feeding, far less than the year and a half reported in old literature.

The bed bugs get from one city to another town or city this way. The bugs travel on host clothing, in suitcases, and on the seats of busses, planes and trains. Several online resources state that catching the bed bugs early can help with erradication efforts. If the bugs are allowed to live undetected in an environment, a difficult to remove infestation can occur.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!


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