Insect Trapping Surface that Treats Infestations without Toxic Pesticides

Background: This insect trapping surface is embedded with microscopic hooks of various sizes that will trap bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) by impaling their legs. Despite aggressive pest control efforts bed bug infestation rates have dramatically increased since the 1980s and infestations are particularly difficult to control in densely populated urban areas. Available bed bug control techniques involve localized insecticide fumigation or introducing a fungus (Beauveria bassiana) lethal to the bed bug. However to kill bed bugs treatment must use insecticides at levels that can be harmful to humans and pets. Additionally people with compromised immune systems can experience an adverse reaction to the fungal spores. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a promising bed bug trapping technology that can help stop bed bug activity and eliminate infestations. The trap surface uses no harmful chemicals; the nanoscale hooks are customizable in size and material enabling the trap to target all stages of bed bug development. Technology Description: The dramatic growth of bed bug infestations is an increasingly common health problem found all over the developed world. Traditional treatments for bed bug infestation are relatively expensive and can involve using insecticides to which the bed bugs will eventually become resistant. This purely physical method traps bed bugs using relatively inexpensive materials. The trapping surface can consist of microscopic hooks of varying heights densities and materials. In another form the trap also can use electrospun 3-D nanofiber structures to entangle and immobilize the bed bugs climbing on it. These microscopic features can be used as an active trap to monitor and reduce bed bug population or as a barrier preventing infestation of a certain area. Applications: This surface uses microscopic hooks and/or nanofibers to physically trap bed bugs.

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