May 22, 2014

New Bedbug Trap Offers Safe, Effective, Inexpensive Way To Deal With Parasites

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Researchers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have channeled their inner MacGyver and devised a cheap and easy way to deal with bedbugs using only common household items.

According to Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News, the items required to construct the ingenious new trap cost only about a dollar in all, and the new trap provides a “nearly foolproof” alternative to pesticides and bug bombs for dealing with the bloodsucking parasites that are typically found in mattresses and other bedding.

In order to determine whether or not your preferred place of slumber has been infested by bedbugs, the UF/IFAS team came up with a single interceptor trap built out of a pair of disposable plastic containers, glue and masking tape. Once assembled, they claim that the traps capture and collect bedbugs while they attempt to travel between people and the parasite’s preferred hiding places, Viegas added.

[ Watch the Video: How To Build Your Own Bed Bug Trap ]

The trap can be built in just four steps, though there is an optional fifth step. First, you need to cut four pieces of rough-surfaced tape, with each one being at least as long as the wall of the smaller container is tall. Next, you evenly space and firmly press all four pieces of tape vertically on the inside surface of that smaller container.

The tape allows the bugs to escape that container easily and fall into the space separating it and the larger container, thus trapping the bedbugs. For the third step, you need to wrap tape around the outside of the larger container from the base to its upper edge, allowing the parasites to have easy access to the trap.

After that, you have to glue the smaller container into the center of the larger container’s bottom. While that’s basically all you need to do, the UF/IFAS inventors note that the trap works best if you apply baby powder or another form of talc to the space between the walls of each container, so that it’s harder for the bedbugs to escape.

Bedbug treatments can cost between $1,200 for a low-income apartment to upwards of $3,000 for a single-family home, the researchers said, and the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the insects are starting to become more resistant to pesticides. The UF/IFAS system would be far less costly, with the average three-bedroom home requiring about 50 of the $1 traps – enough to place one under each leg of furniture (including beds and sofas).

The trap was devised by UF/IFAS urban entomology professor Phil Koehler, entomology doctoral student Benjamin Hottel, assistant urban entomology professor Rebecca Baldwin, and UF associate research scientists Roberto Pereira.

“This concept of trapping works for places where people sleep and need to be protected at those locations,” Koehler said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the device is a safer alternative to ill-advised bedbug treatment methods, such as the use of mothballs, flammable liquids or pesticides. “It’s really hard to mess this up to the point that you’d hurt anything.”