Mimicking bean leaves may help control bedbug infestations

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A material designed to mimic the hooked hairs of bean leaves could help trap and control bedbugs, according to scientists from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Kentucky. The research was motivated by a centuries-old remedy used in Serbia and other southeast European countries where kidney bean leaves are strewn on the floor next to beds to trap the bugs. As soon as the insects step on a leaf, their legs are trapped by microscopic hooked hairs known as trichomes. The more the bug struggles to move its legs to escape, the more stuck it gets. The leaves are burned the next day to exterminate the bugs. Researchers have microfabricated materials that closely resemble the microscopic hairs on the kidney-bean leaves; however, the bugs are greatly unimpeded by the synthetic surfaces. With insecticide resistance on the rise, the bio-inspired microfabrication techniques could be a helpful tool for treating bed bug infestations.

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