VANCOUVER — A British Columbia biologist has endured 180,000 bites with the intention of sucking the life out of the worldwide bedbug epidemic.
Once thought eradicated in industrial countries, the pests have reappeared over the past two decades, infesting everything from low-income housing to pricey hotels.
A team from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., including biologists, a chemist and students, has now identified a set of chemical attractants that lure the bedbugs into traps and keep them there.
But those findings required biologist Regine (reh-GINA’) Gries, who is immune to the bites, to act as a host so the pests could feed while scientists gathered skin and feces from the bugs to analyze.
The team is now working with a company based out of Victoria, B.C., to develop the first effective and affordable trap to detect and monitor infestations.
SFU Prof. Gerhard Gries, the husband of Regine, says the trap will help landlords, tenants and pest-control professionals to determine whether a premise has a bedbug problem.