Bedbugs be gone! SFU scientists bite back with bait breakthrough

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A major breakthrough in the quest to end the nightmare of bedbug infestations is credited to scientists at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University.

SFU biologist Regine Gries shed a lot of blood in her research on bedbugs: Gries endured bites from over a thousand bedbugs each week for five years while she and her husband, Gerhard Gries, worked on a way to fight the invasive insects.

“Working with SFU chemist Robert Britton and a team of students, they have finally found the solution—a set of chemical attractants, or pheromones, that lure the bedbugs into traps, and keep them there,” explains SFU.

The researchers have conducted trials locally in bedbug-infested apartments in Metro Vancouver, and the results have now been published in a leading general chemistry journal.

The team is now at work on the world’s first bait-and-trap device that will be both effective and affordable. The SFU scientists are working with Victoria-based Contech Enterprises Inc. to come up with a product that will be commercially available in 2015.

“This trap will help landlords, tenants, and pest-control professionals determine whether premises have a bedbug problem, so that they can treat it quickly. It will also be useful for monitoring the treatment’s effectiveness,” says Gerhard Gries.

Bedbugs are a major pest in B.C., with Vancouver’s downtown Eastside particularly hard hit in recent years. The Bedbug Registry currently has 1,944 bedbug reports filed for Vancouver.

Featured image: Bedbug via Shutterstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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