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Health Team

NC State researcher looks for bedbug remedy

Posted August 11, 2011

— Entomologist Coby Schal of North Carolina State University is working on ways to stop the nationwide bedbug invasion.

Bedbugs are attracted to where humans are, especially to where they stay for long periods at night, Schal said.

"They feed on a liquid. They feed on our blood," Schal said. "One of our projects here at N.C. State is to develop what we call an artificial human."

The artificial human must emit everything that attracts bedbugs, including body heat, he said. The bugs are also attracted by the carbon dioxide emitted by exhaling, different body chemicals and skin.

To create an artificial human, Schal stretched a skin-like membrane over a water bottle filled with body temperature water mixed with rabbit blood.

Schal is also studying what bedbugs love about human blood. Most of the research on bedbugs was done 50 years ago, before advances in molecular biology and genetics, he said.

"Once we get those (preferences) incorporated into a bait system, then we'll have a good prototype," he said.

Bait combined with a bedbug killing virus or bacteria could end the bed bug invasion, he said.

The Chancellor's Innovation Fund at N.C. State awarded Schal $75,000 to solve the bedbug problem.

Bedbugs are not known to carry disease, but they can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, isolation, allergic reactions and secondary infections, Schal said.

NCSU looks to stop bedbugs NCSU looks to stop bedbugs

Anyone to suspects they have bedbugs should have a professional inspection.

For people who do not have bedbugs, experts suggest being careful about luggage brought home form a hotel or someone else's home. People should also be extremely careful about furniture or beds purchased from yard sales, as they could contain the bugs.

4 Comments

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  • JustAName Aug 17, 8:42 a.m.

    DDT has been available for decades and proven to work.

  • arterrainc Aug 16, 11:55 a.m.

    Greenbug for People is the best ever when it comes to bed bugs. It kill AND repels using all natural ingredients. It works! Google 'Greenbug for People' and you'll find it.

  • arterrainc Aug 16, 11:54 a.m.

    The best bed bug 'cure' is Greenbug for People. It kills and repels bed bugs - plus destroys their eggs - using all natural, safe ingredients. If you don't want bed bugs, get Greenbug for People and if you have them, you can treat effectively yourself with Greenbug for People. It works! http://www.greenbugallnatural.com

  • THE ETERNAL Aug 15, 7:35 p.m.

    I grew up with bedbugs as a kid. You can just mash them into the matress- slow but effective. I never paid much attention to them, but mosquitos are worse.