New Tricks Against Bedbugs: Dry Ice Pet Dish, "Bedbug Saunas"

Despite the founding this year of the city council's Bed Bug Advisory Board, bedbugs are still a problem in New York. WABC proposed yesterday a "less than $20" solution developed by a Rutgers entomology professor Changlu Wang: a fabric-lined, upside-down pet dish with a cooler of dry ice on top. The dry ice releases CO2, which attracts the insects, who climb the fabrics to get at what they think is a live human, and become trapped in the grooves surrounding the inverted bowls. (It helps if you put talcum powder in the grooves.

In the professor's test, it attracted about a third of ambient bugs. Not good enough! So how about a bedbug sauna?

Bedbugger reproduces the specs for a "designated heat treatment room to exterminate bed bugs" used by a British Columbia housing development. They've reported on the use of bedbug saunas before, and it seems to help ("I know it works," says a housing administrator, "I've seen them die"), but such a unit can cost thousands of dollars.

Still, it's a good choice for the sort of multiple dwellings in which many New Yorkers live. Maybe some enterprising realtor can include a begbug sauna among the amenities it offers tenants. They certainly need it more than a ballet studio.


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