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Watch Bed Bugs Get Stopped in Their Tracks | Deep Look

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 Biology   |   Environmental   |   Science
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At night, these parasites crawl onto your bed, bite you and suck your blood. Then they find a nearby hideout where they leave disgusting telltale signs. But these pests have an Achilles heel that stops them cold.

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DEEP LOOK is a ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. See the unseen at the very edge of our visible world. Explore big scientific mysteries by going incredibly small.

Adult bed bugs are about the size and color of an apple seed. After biting, they hide in a nearby cranny, like the seam of the mattress.

At the University of California, Irvine, biologist and engineer Catherine Loudon is working to create synthetic surfaces that could trap bed bugs. She was inspired by the tiny hooked hairs that grow from the leaves of some varieties of beans, such as kidney and green beans. In nature, these hairs, called trichomes, pierce through the feet of the aphids and leafhoppers that like to feed on the plants.

Researchers have found that these pointy hairs are just as effective against bed bugs, even though the bloodsucking parasites dont feed on leaves. Loudons goal is to mimic a bean leafs mechanism to create an inexpensive, portable bed bug trap.

You could imagine a strip that would act as a barrier that could be placed virtually anywhere: across the portal to a room, behind the headboard, on subway seats, an airplane, Loudon said. They have six legs, so thats six opportunities to get trapped.

--- Where do bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs dont fly or jump or come in from the garden. They crawl very quickly and hide in travelers luggage. They also move around on secondhand furniture, or from apartment to apartment.

--- How can I avoid bringing bed bugs home?
It would probably be a prudent thing to do a quick bed check if youre sleeping in a strange bed, said Potter. His recommendation goes for hotel rooms, as well as dorms and summer camp bunk beds. He suggests pulling back the sheet at the head of the bed and checking the seams on the top and bottom of the mattress and the box spring.

---+ For more tips, read the entire article on KQED Science:
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---+ More Great Deep Look Episodes:
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Stay in Your Layne
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---+ About KQED
KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, radio and web media.

Funding for Deep Look is provided in part by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look is a project of KQED Science, which is also supported by the National Science Foundation, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Fuhs Family Foundation, Campaign 21 and the members of KQED.
#bedbug #bedbugtrap #bedbugbite

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