Researchers Find Bed Bug Pheromone Mix
A promising new bed bug trap has just been announced that could greatly improve the chances of completely eliminating bed bugs from a residence. The study out of Simon Frasier University in Vancouver and published in Angewandte Chemie states that histamine, the substance best known for its role in allergic reactions in humans, is capable of causing bed bugs to cease moving about and settle in. This nesting behavior is seen in bed bugs already, such as in the clusters of bed bugs together on mattress seams and behind headboards, but with this new tool we have the potential to encourage it in locations we desire instead of wherever bed bugs can feed. Researchers Gerhard Gries, Regine Gries, and Robert A. Britton have taken it one step further by also isolating five other pheromones that attract bed bugs. By combining these chemicals together into one mixture with histamine they hope the new traps will lure the bed bugs in and then immobilize them. In their research to date the trap was effectively able to capture 100% of the test bed bugs – a promising result that lends credence to other teams exploring pheromone traps.
Not a Perfect Solution
There are downsides to the new traps. Although they captured nymphs and adult bed bugs of both sexes they will not eliminate the non-mobile eggs, whose survival can guarantee the continuation of the bed bug infestation. Wired discussed other possible complications in the use of this new method; along with the possibility of bed bug populations developing resistance to the blend they questioned whether the traps would work as well in large populations of bed bugs. When numerous bed bugs are present the females can often wander off despite the attraction to the group and it’s unclear as of yet whether the same would be true in the use of the new traps, although the researchers have warned of the possibility. Even if that is the case a high efficacy rate on the new traps in smaller infestations (and the potential to contain at least part of larger ones) would be an effective tool to add to our current arsenal, and used in conjunction with heat treatment and pesticides will hopefully make it that much easier to rid your home of these pests once and for all. Another positive of the new traps is their cost: according to the researchers the materials came in at about 10 cents per unit, a promising sign that the new treatment will be cost effective and not outside the grasp of those currently suffering. Gerhard Gries is hopeful the traps could be on the market as early as the fall of this year.