Every year there are more and more bed bug infestations. Researchers at the University of Mississippi are currently working on developing a natural treatment for bed bugs to combat the rising numbers throughout the nation. Their hope is to discover natural chemicals that will work as insecticides, and ideally get them approved by the EPA for general usage as soon as possible.
The research is being conducted out of the National Center for Natural Products research, running in the School of Pharmacy at the university. It’s being funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense, signifying just how important finding a natural treatment for bed bugs is. From a public health standpoint there are many benefits to treating bed bugs even though they do not spread diseases, including the cost of treating infestations. Natural treatments have the potential to be much more cost effective – just look at diatomaceous earth, a natural treatment for bed bugs that is among the cheapest out there.
They aren’t only looking for a natural treatment that will kill bed bugs. Researchers are also checking on ways to control bed bug population growth, as well as the size of the bugs period. They’re testing a variety of natural compounds and ways to apply them. These include fumigation, residuals, and what one scientist described as being the most time consuming: knocking the bed bug unconscious and applying tiny amounts of the chemicals directly onto their backs, a process which could take five hours in some cases. While that sounds like a tedious process maintaining the lab bed bugs sounds even worse. They must be fed a steady diet of rabbits blood to keep them alive so that the efficacy of the natural insecticides can be tested. We’re just glad our job is killing bed bugs not feeding them!