Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bedbugs

 
We don't like to think about these little guys, but apparently they are becoming more and more a fact of life.
 
 
They look huge in these photos, but are actually only about the size of an apple seed. Nocturnal, bedbugs prefer to hang out in bedding and mattresses. There are few cities in the world without them, so when we travel we are at risk of giving bedbugs and free ride back into our homes.
 
Information on bedbugs - identifying, prevention, dealing with etc. can be found at BedbugsInfo.

The pervasive and upsetting presence of bedbugs in our society has pushed research into techniques for getting rid of them to the forefront. One of the most recent finds at the Stony Brook University Center for Advanced Technology in Sensor Materials in Long Island, NY is very exciting.

Nanotechnology can be used to spin plastic polymer microfibers, 50 times thinner than a human hair, into a microscopic netting that is exactly the right size mesh to trap bedbugs by their tiny legs. Once immobilized, the insects are unable to attack or reproduce.

The major benefit of this technology is that it's perfectly safe for humans - no harmful chemicals. In addition, if the project can be patented and marketed, the solution would also be low cost for consumers.

Stony Brook is working with a company called Fibertrap to bring the concept to market and Fibertrap has a rather long video to demonstrate the effectiveness of the nano-fabric.  You only need to watch it for a few seconds - nothing much happens over the 8+ minutes of video.