Sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite. That very old rhyme describes a problem that people around the world have faced for a long time. Bedbugs. One of the most annoying types of insects, these can often be costly and time consuming to even attempt to get rid of. But these bugs have been around for quite a while, and so far, there hasn’t been a breakthrough in stopping these tiny pests. Until now. However, the answer to this problem includes having one poor woman to have to suffer through nearly 200,000 bug bites.
Regine Gries is the owner of the team that contains several biologists and chemists based at Simon Fraser University, in Canada. The team has gone through an extensive amount of testing attempting to find what pheromone tells bedbugs what areas are safe, and which are not. But to test each different type of pheromone, a large amount of bedbug fecal matter and cuticles was needed. This is where Regine Gries took one for the team. In order to collect the needed materials, she endured roughly 180,000 bug bites. But at the very least, it wasn’t for naught. The team found what they were looking for – an arrestant, histamine. Histamine is actually produced in humans during immune responses, and also found in bedbug feces and cuticles. Bedbugs often leave this waste to collect near their favorite hiding spots which are oftentimes near a food source as well. The team also found that in order to attract each other, bedbugs also produced five volatile organic compounds. After testing a combination of histamine and the organic compounds, they found that bedbugs were both lured into traps, and also kept them there. This was the big breakthrough that they were looking for. For more read: http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/12/Chemical-Cocktail-Lures-Bedbugs-Coaxes.html