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Our focus this year is fighting bed bugs, worldwide invasive pests, that are invading homes and biting humans for their blood. These tiny bugs became harmful from the moment humans made caves their homes, as the original hosts of bed bugs were bats. Nowadays humans don’t live in caves, but this temporary troglodyte dwelling came with a cost: fighting against an insect addicted to human blood. While their bite usually doesn’t transmit any disease, it still induces serious dermatological and allergy issues.
We are aiming to find an efficient solution for removing bed bugs from infested living spaces. Our strategy consists of two integrated parts: using pheromones as a chemical lure that can attract bed bugs into a trap where they will be eliminated using Beauveria bassiana, a highly virulent fungus to bed bugs, but safe for humans.