Bed Bugs And Beans…A Sticky Combination

It was a remedy used by women hundreds of years ago in southeastern Europe that enabled them to sleep without being ravished by bed bugs.  Balkan women used to line the floors surrounding their beds with kidney bean leaves.  When they awoke, they were bite free and any hungry bed bugs were trapped on the leaves, stuck for eternity…or at least until they were destroyed.  Each morning the leaves were gathered and taken outside where they were burned.

Bed bugs are a continuous problem here in the United States as well as throughout the world.  Scientists are on a constant quest to find a permanent end to the bloodsucking of the horrible pests.

This age old tradition of using bean leaves to catch bed bugs has now caught the attention of scientists at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Kentucky.  According to a report published online on April 9, 2013 in the Journal of Royal Society Interface, bed bugs that happen across the kidney bean leaves become stuck.

Here’s how it works…Bed bugs have a suit of armor that is extremely resistant to pesticides.  Imagine the pests wearing a big metal suit like soldiers did when they went to battle.  They are well protected except for in a few places, in particular, where their legs meet their exceptional suit of armor.  The kidney bean leaf has microscopic hooked hairs on one side of the leaf.  These hairs are called “trichomes”.  As soon as the bed bug steps onto the leaf they are ensnared like a fish on a hook!

This brilliant discovery has prompted scientists to try to create a synthetic version of nature’s perfect solution to trapping the pests. So far, the bed bugs have escaped all synthetic creations.  But rest assured…it’s only a matter of time before they are caught!