WRAL news has a story today about North Carolina State University entomologist Dr. Coby Schal, who has a $75,000 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund Grant from NCSU to work creating an artificial human which would attract bed bugs to feed on it, instead of on us.
The fake host would need to give off CO2 and heat, as well as some of the chemicals we emit, and would need to have “skin” that was like ours, at least as far as bed bugs are concerned. This would be filled with some kind of blood combined with a bed bug-killing bacteria or virus.
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.
Bring it on!
We are always glad to hear of research which is being done to help solve this problem.
And so we wait, with bated breath.
You can learn more about this project from Dr. Schal in the video below.
(If the video is not embedded — and working — above, you can view it on WRAL.com.)