Comet sniffing space technology will soon be used for London bed bug control, in a solution to the problem met by pest controllers that bed bugs and other insects become more resistant to traditional chemicals.

After working to create the Ptolemy instrument on the Rosetta comet-landing mission, Dr Taff Morgan from The Open University has launched his own company in order to transfer the technology and theory to develop a device to detect chemicals emitted by certain insects.

From Comets to Bed Bugs

In 2014, the Rosetta mission landed on comet 67p Churyumov-Gerasimenko, with the aim of deciphering its chemical composition. Two years on, the same mass spectrometry is being used to development an instrument that will be able to detect bed bugs before an infestation breaks out, by sniffing out the chemicals they secrete to communicate to each other.

Innovate UK and European Space Agency’s business incubator have funded the first nine-mouth project, and the innovative, state-of-the-art hand held bed bug detecting instrument should be available within the year, which could revolutionise pest control. Plugging the instrument into a machine no bigger than a printer will give results within five minutes.

“Find Them Before They Find You”

Dr Morgan says this space age technology will allow pet controllers to ‘find bed bugs before they find you’. As it stands, bed bugs are incredibly hard to find and in the vast majority of cases the first signs of an infestation is when they start to bite. By this point, the infestation has already taken hold and will take time and a lot of effort to eradicate.

With the rise of international travel, bed bugs are becoming more and more prolific, and not only in the bedroom. Airlines and public places like cinemas have also noticed a marked increase in the need for bed bug control. Extremely hard to see due to their small size and colour, bed bugs are hitching lifts on luggage and clothing, spreading from place to place and even country to country.

Bed bugs can be found on any soft furnishing, not only beds, and also like to hide behind headboards, along skirting boards, behind pictures and in any tiny cracks of crevices they can find. On top of this, bed bugs are showing immunity to the chemicals used and developing harder shells, making them even harder to treat.

The new device will make it possible to detect the presence of bed bugs before an infestation takes hold. This will revolutionise preventive, pro-active pest control for London establishments, particularly hotels, hostels and B&Bs, which are often victim to bed bug breakouts.

Top Dog Pest Control keeps up-to-date on all the latest technologies and treatment available on the pest control market, in order to provide their London clients with the latest, top class service.

Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London bed bug control services. 

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