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Bedbugs forced to repel themselves.

Combining bedbugs' own chemical signals with a common insect control agent makes that treatment more effective at killing the bugs, according to researchers at Ohio State University, Columbus.

Stirring up the bedbugs by spraying their environment with synthetic versions of their alarm (as opposed to reproductive) pheromones makes them more likely to walk through agents called desiccant dusts, which make the bugs highly susceptible to dehydration. A blend of two pheromones applied in concert with a silica gel desiccant dust proved to be the most lethal combination.

In the past decade, bedbugs have become an increasing problem in industries ranging from agriculture and housing to travel and hospitality, so much so that the Environmental Protection Agency recently hosted a National Bedbug Summit. Moreover, the species Cimes lectularis is developing resistance to the insecticides approved to spray infested areas, treatmerits that belong to a group of compounds called pyrethroids.

Desiccant dusts--such as diatomaceous earth--that are sprinkled in infested areas, however, are among the oldest and most-effective forms of insect controI, as long as the bugs walk through them. "Once we put the alarm pheromone in the places bedbugs hide, boom, they instantly started moving around and moving through the desiccant dust," explains lead author Joshua Benoit, a doctoral candidate in entomology

"Desiccant dust is messy, but it's not toxic, so it can be used in agricultural settings, such as chicken coops, where bedbugs can be a big problem. The dust method also can be used in housing, where it would be sprinkled on carpet and eventually vacuumed."

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Insecticides
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2009
Previous Article:Toxic scare mongering mutes hidden truth.
Next Article:Don't let that bedbugs bite.

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