Scientists working at the University of Kentucky recently made a discovery regarding a pest that we all know too well, bed bugs. The discovery is that triglycerides in the skin, also called lipids, actually repels the tiny pest.
Zach DeVries, assistant professor of urban entomology with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment said: “We already knew that human body odors, carbon dioxide, and warmth attract bed bugs to feed on people. Our latest research shows the reason they do not stay on humans like other pests, such as lice, is due to lipids or triglycerides in our skin that cause them to leave their hosts and hide in nearby locations, such as beds and mattresses.”
The team at UK used a filter paper containing lipids from people of all ages and ethnicities and were able to duplicate the experiment over and over again.
“Our findings were consistent across all triglyceride types, all participant groups, and all bed bug populations,” DeVries said. “Bed bugs nearly always preferred the control filter strip to the one containing skin triglycerides.”
“The bed bugs do not like to sit on skin triglycerides and refuse to stay on surfaces that contain triglycerides,” Gaire said. “We got tremendous results by using only a small amount of triglycerides.”
So, could this information be used to treat homes and mattresses for bed bugs in the future? Experts in the pest treatment field believe so. The key would be to synthetically duplicate the material and make it into a treatment that one would apply manually or perhaps it could even be woven into the material during the manufacturing process.
This is an exciting development in the ever-evolving world of pest control.
The findings were first reported in the journal Scientific Reports.