A Better Bed Bug Trap?

Bed Bug

Underside of Immature Bed Bug

Historical records from Eastern Europe report the use of bean leaves to trap Bed Bugs. Leaves of some varieties of bean plants (Phaseolus spp.) have hairs called trichomes on their leaves. Some trichomes have hooks at the tip that can immobilize insects. The hooked trichomes rub against the legs of insects as they walk on the leaf. Some of the hooks will stick in the soft tissue of the insect between the leg segments and entrap it, much the way a fish hook will hook into a fish.

A group of scientists* fabricated a material with tiny hooks modeled on the bean leaf trichomes. The material was observed to snag the bed bugs, but was less effective in immobilizing them than a real bean leaf. This is an interesting idea. Perhaps with a little tweaking, a fabric for use in a better bed bug trap can be produced.

*Megan W. Szyndler, Kenneth F. Haynes, Michael F. Potter, Robert M. Corn and Catherine Loudon. 2013. Entrapment of bed bugs by leaf trichomes inspires microfabrication of biomimetic surfaces. J. R. Soc. Interface 6 June 2013 vol. 10 no. 83 20130174
Published 10 April 2013 doi: 10.1098/​rsif.2013.0174

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Bed Bugs, Biomaterials, by jjneal, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

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