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Leaf-Like Material “Traps Bedbugs,” say Researchers

A Balkan solution for bedbug woes uses leaves from the kidney bean plant to hook and trap the unwanted pests. Scientists are looking into how and why this works as bedbug problems become an increasingly troubling problem in every part of the world. Institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, and multi-residential units are feeling increasing financial costs to get rid of the pests. Bedbugs,  at the same time, are becoming more resistant to chemical means of eradicating them. What does work, and naturally, will be an important and hopefully safer solution to ridding living spaces of bedbugs. 

Besides pesticide resistance, other reasons for ever-increasing bedbug numbers are increasing numbers of people traveling and transporting the pests elsewhere. Thrift stores selling second hand items are also gaining in customers and popularity- this is another avenue for bedbug transport and relocation.

Kidney bean leaves have hairs on them with hook shapes that provide a natural defense against insects such as aphids and spider mites. For most people who suffer from bedbug infestations, growing kidney beans and scattering the bedroom floor with leaves nightly, is not a workable solution. But studying why and how the plants work to capture bedbugs is an important step in developing synthetic materials that could do the same job and be produced and sold to consumers. Scientists have tried to replicate the hair-like devices of the kidney bean plant without success so far. They made a prototype material that hooked bedbugs, but it only did so for a short period of time. Another product being worked with is an entrapment type of device baited with bedbug pheromones.

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