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Nanotechnology stops bed bugs in their tracks

Fri, 05/31/2013 - 10:54am

A screen capture of a video demonstration of the new technology stopping bed bugs in their tracks. Image: Stony Brook UniversityBed bugs now need to watch their step. Researchers at Stony Brook Univ. have developed a safe, non-chemical resource that literally stops bed bugs in their tracks. This innovative new technology acts as a man-made web consisting of microfibers 50 times thinner than a human hair which entangle and trap bed bugs and other insects. This patent-pending technology is being commercialized by Fibertrap, a private company that employs non-toxic pest control methods.

The nanotech solution was developed at Stony Brook Univ.’s Center for Advanced Technology in Sensor Materials (Sensor CAT), a program funded by NYSTAR, as part of a statewide effort to encourage greater technological and economic collaboration between industry and research universities.

“Our nanotechnology produces entanglements that are millions of times more dense than woven products such as fabrics or carpets,” says lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Co-Director in the Program of Chemical and Molecular Engineering at Stony Brook Univ. “The microfibers trap them by attaching to microstructures on their legs taking away their ability to move, which stops them from feeding and reproducing.”

Successful tests were performed using live bed bugs and termites in Professor Rafailovich’s laboratory with the assistance of Ying Liu, a scientist with Stony Brook Univ.’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center and Stony Brook graduate students Shan He and Linxi Zhang.

Kevin McAllister, Fibertrap’s co-founder adds, “We are very excited to move this advancement from the lab to the consumer. Our goal has always been to make a difference for people living in areas where bed bugs are pervasive and difficult to eradicate.”

The microfibers are safe for humans and pets and unlike chemical treatments the insects cannot develop a resistance to it.

Source: Stony Brook University

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