They come out under cover of darkness, experts of stealth, resilient to toxic pesticides, and they have come to suck your blood.
By day, bed bugs retreat into cracks and crevasses around the bed, leaving their victims itching. True, their bites may be similar to those of the mosquitoes we already put up with, but when the bugs start to get in bed with you, they have gone a step too far! On the bright side, Montreal entomologists believe that their new anti-bedbug bed can help people reclaim their sleeping places.
These reddish brown creatures, no bigger than an apple seed, feed exclusively on blood. Trends show that they are on the rise, and can be found anywhere there are people, especially in places of high turnover such as hotels, dormitories, apartments and offices. Bed bug reports in Toronto are up 38% in the last year. And New York City, according to the health department, had over half a million bed bug infestations!
Travelers are becoming more bed bug conscious, checking the internet for bed bug reports, and inspecting their mattresses before checking in to hotels. Bed bug reports on sites such as tripadvisor.com warn travelers off from staying at hotels where they might pick up unwanted guests. Even with the highest standards of cleanliness, the most reputable hotels are vulnerable to bed bug infestations because they are the crossroads for travelers from all over the world. It is not a matter of ‘if’ a hotel will get bed bugs, but when. The threat of bed bugs is real: a single female can lay up to 400 eggs in her lifetime of about one year. So you can imagine how a few undetected bed bugs can rapidly evolve into a serious outbreak.
While they may seem invincible, just like vampires and werewolves, bed bugs also have a weakness. They are not very tolerant to heat, which is the main ingredient in the anti-bedbug bed, known as the ‘Good Knight’, designed by Paul Maloney and his children Laurel and Tim. Also, there is one thing they absolutely cannot live without—you! They need blood to survive, and will feed every 6 days if there are people around. Exploiting these weaknesses, Montreal inventors designed a bed that fights back.
“By day, the ‘Good Knight’ bed heats up, destroying any bed bugs inside of it. In an infestation, generally 90% of bed bugs will be within 5 meters of the bed.” says Maloney, “As for the bed bugs lurking around the room— the ones that are not getting baked, they get caught in the trapping system that is built into the bed. With the trials we have run, we saw that the ‘Good Knight’ can single-handedly wipe out a long-standing infestation.”