Fungus May Control Bed Bugs
Microorganisms called biopesticides show promise in making sure you really can sleep tight and not let the bed bugs bite, according to a team of Pennsylvania State University entomologists. The organisms are natural fungi that would alleviate current concerns about the safety of using chemical insect sprays. The study was published in the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology.
A release from the university quotes senior research associate Nina Jenkins as saying that the biopesticides "are relatively easy to produce in a lab and stable, so you can use them much like chemical pesticides . . . We exposed half of a population of bed bugs to a spray residue for one hour and then allowed them to go into a harborage with unexposed individuals. The fungal spores were transferred from the exposed bug to their unexposed companions, and we observed almost a hundred percent infection. So they don't even need to be directly exposed, and that's something chemicals cannot do."
This result is important because bed bugs live in hard-to-reach places. "Bed bugs tend to be cryptic, and they'll hide in the tiniest crevices," Jenkins said. "They don't just live in your bed. They hide behind light switches and power sockets and in between the cracks of the baseboard and underneath your carpet."