British study finds that bed bugs are not fans of human skin


PHOTO: SCIEPRO / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are attracted to people for their blood meal because of our natural smells, exhaled carbon dioxide, and general warmth, but it turns out they don’t stick to our skin for long. This is the latest result of a study by the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington.

“Our latest research shows that the reason they don’t stay on humans like other pests like lice is because of lipids or triglycerides in our skin that cause them to leave their hosts and settle in nearby places like beds and Hide mattresses. “Dr. Zach DeVries, assistant professor of urban entomology at the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, said in a press release. “Our results were consistent across all triglyceride types, all groups of participants and all bed bug populations. Bed bugs almost always preferred the control filter strips to the one that contained skin triglycerides. “

Drs. DeVries and Sudip Gaire, a UK postdoctoral fellow, tested this latest finding by rubbing a strip of filter paper on the participants’ skin to collect samples. The research participants represented numerous age groups and ethnicities. They also tested the theory on multiple populations of bed bugs raised in the laboratory and collected in the field.

“The bed bugs don’t like to sit on skin triglycerides and refuse to stay on surfaces that contain triglycerides,” said Dr. Gaire in the press release. “We have achieved tremendous results by using only a small amount of triglycerides.”

Dr. DeVries said the results could have a huge impact on the professional pest control industry, including the used “to keep bed bugs from hitchhiking on people’s belongings and thus reduce their spread.”

Other researchers on the study include Russell Mick, Rick Santangelo, and Dr. Coby Scarf from North Carolina State University and Grazia Bottillo and Emanuela Camera from the San Gallicano Dermatological Institute in Rome, Italy. The results were published for the first time in Scientific Reports.

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