Video: Researchers find new solution to combat age-old bedbug problem

August 4, 2017
The Aprehend biopesticide developed by Penn State researchers contains Beauveria bassiana, a natural and indigenous fungus that causes disease in insects but is harmless to humans. When a bedbug crosses a sprayed barrier, it picks up the fungal spores, which germinate and colonize the body, killing the bedbug in four to seven days. Credit: Daryl Branford

As the summer travel season kicks into high gear, Penn State researchers have found a potential solution to those unwanted guests that can turn a relaxing vacation into a skin-crawling nightmare.

Anyone who has had to deal with a bedbug infestation knows that once the bloodthirsty bugs gain a foothold—be it in one's hotel room, home or psyche — getting rid of them can be anything but easy.

Traditional chemicals require direct, long-term exposure to be effective, hardly an easy task given bedbugs' habit of congregating behind baseboards and electrical outlets, inside furniture cracks, amongst household clutter, and other hard-to-reach places.

Heat treatments can be effective in solving infestations but are often expensive and don't always work in drafty, old, expansive properties.

Then there's the problem of insecticide resistance among bedbugs, which recent research suggests is a mounting problem.

Aprehend, an EPA-registered biopesticide developed at Penn State, has the potential to revolutionize the way that bedbug infestations are controlled. Based on a natural fungal disease of insects, Aprehend could be in the hands of professional pest controllers as early as the fall of 2017 — thanks to an entrepreneurial ecosystem taking root at Penn State that’s helping to take research from the lab to the marketplace. Credit: Daryl Branford and C Roy Parker

However, a team of Penn State scientists has developed a potential game-changer in the war against bedbugs — a naturally derived, fungal-based pesticide that uses the bugs' own natural tendencies to humankind's advantage.

Check out the video above to learn more about Aprehend, a patent-pending, EPA-registered biopesticide that has the potential to turn the bedbug control market on its ear—and the Invent Penn State entrepreneurial ecosystem that's helping to push such crucial discoveries out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. 

Aprehend is expected to be on the market and available to professional pest controllers during the fall of 2017.

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