A woman has endured thousands of bed bug bites so that she could learn what repels the nasty creatures.
Regine Gries is a biologist who literally gave her body to research. She allowed herself to be bitten by more than 1,000 bed bugs each week for the last five years.
All in the name of science.
The grand total: Gries has been bitten 180,000 times by bed bugs.
It was blood well spent, apparently. Her research has paid off.
She and her husband Gerhard are biologists at Simon Frasier University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Thanks to her efforts, the couple has learned what attracts the bloodsuckers.
Perhaps more importantly, they have learned what repels them.
The research has led the pair to believe that bed bugs communicate by odor.
On the back of that knowledge the biologists were able to identify a histamine that repels the nasty creatures. That can have a useful application for people who are attempted to eliminate an infestation.
The research also yielded five odors that attract bed bugs. While this might not seem like an odor that anybody would want in his or her bedroom, it can be used to lure the bugs into traps, where they will ultimately die.
Now, a Victoria, British Columbia company called Contech Enterprises is developing what is being described as the first affordable bait and trap for bed bugs. It is expected to be commercially available next year.