The Loh Down On Science

Baking Bedbugs

Catherine Loudon, a senior lecturer in ecology & evolutionary biology at UCI, displays a bedbug suspended in acrylic.

Steve Zylius / UCI

The newest gizmos for airport security. . . ovens?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Bed bugs have been making a worldwide comeback by evolving pesticide resistance. Gross! How can we stop them?!

Enter Catherine Loudon, an entomologist at the University of California, Irvine. She’s been working on bed bug extermination for several years.

It’s common knowledge that heat kills bed bugs. Washing blankets and sheets in hot water usually does the trick. But when we travel, they could be hitching a ride on our luggage! Loudon wondered if there was a quick way kill these pesky stowaways.

First, she tested how long the bugs survived inside preheated containers. At one hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit, they died in just forty-five seconds! Then she put a suitcase crawling with bed bugs through a specially designed baggage oven. Within minutes, they were baked to a crisp!

You thought the TSA line was long? Wait until they start cooking our bags. Yow!  Remember to remove that IPAD!


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