Bed Bug Detection: New Early Warning Devices Hit The Market

Sunflower Hotel Bed
Bed bugs: How can we know in time?

As we learned at NAR 2011 Annual last month, the growing bed bug problem is one that touches all commercial properties, not just multi-family and hospitality.  Offices, shopping centers, theaters, group housing and more are all subject to infestation by these highly mobile pests.  If there’s upholstery and walls, there can be bed bugs.   The legal risks are staggering, the personal ordeals harrowing and a magic bullet is nowhere in sight. Because the elusive critters make themselves very difficult to spot, a small problem becomes a big one invisibly, making early detection a must to head off potential nightmares.

Predictably, a booming business in bed bug remediation has arisen, encompassing traditional pest control, bed bug detection using specially trained dogs, and a wide range of best practice consulting services to help keep a lid on liabilities and keep property owners and managers well-informed.

Yet the technology of bed bug detection has not been a hotbed (sorry) of high technology.   Tending to be old school and beagle-based, the hunting down of early infestations has only begun to see new technologies appear.  The two newest are the Verifi Bed Bug Detector and  new radio wave detectors under development.

FMC Verifi Bed Bug Detector

The FMC corporation makes insecticides and pest control devices.   This week, FMC rolled out the Verifi Bed Bug Detector. Verifi is a kind of early detection trap for bed bugs, a small plastic box with chemical bait that discreetly mounts on a wall behind a bed or furniture. Once installed, managers can inspect the traps periodically to spot unwanted guests and decide to call in the big guns before the problem gets out of hand.

 

Turning The Tables: Radio Wave Bed Bug Detection Device Spots ‘Em When They’re Asleep

The most difficult aspect of tracking down and controlling bed bugs is their mobility.  They hide in walls and in wall features when it’s not night, meaning a major infestation can be hidden for a very long time. The VisiRay company of Corvallis, OR has announced a development deal with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to make detection devices that can see through walls and spot bed bugs when they’re asleep in the walls — let’s see how they like it.

Technology developed to scan air travelers is being used to create a device that can search for bedbugs in houses and hotel rooms, U.S. researchers said.

VisiRay of Corvallis, Ore., has signed an option agreement with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to create the devices, which would use millimeter wave technology to allow inspectors to see through drywall particle boards and view clear images of pests on the other side of a wall.

The company was started by graduate students from the University of Oregon Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.

“PNNL is focused on driving emerging technologies toward outcomes that solve issues of national importance,” Cheryl Cejka, PNNL director of technology commercialization, said in a release.

The agreement is part of the Startup America initiative announced by the White House this year to make licensing new technologies affordable for start-up companies.

The technology was initially developed with Federal Aviation Administration grants to use radio waves to scan passengers, the (Kennewick, Wash.) Tri-City Herald reported Monday. It is used at 78 U.S. airports.

The technology has been licensed for development of a device that could be used in stores to help shoppers select clothing sizes by providing a 3-D holographic image of their bodies, the newspaper said.

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