The Secret To Avoiding Bed Bugs – Hairy Limbs?
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Bed bugs have shut down our movie theaters and
our universities, terrorized our mattress stores, and
made us afraid of our own sheets. Sometimes chatter about them dies
down, but they're always there, waiting to harass us-and we've
had no good idea how to protect ourselves other than donning a Gimp
suit. But according to a new
report, there may be a simpler way to avoid bedbugs: letting
your body hair grow long.
According to the journal Biology Letters, bedbugs are more
likely to feed on shaved limbs than on hairy ones-and hair helps
warn us about the creatures. "Our findings show that more body
hairs mean better detection of parasites-the hairs have nerves
attached to them and provide us with the ability to detect
displacement," said lead researched Professor Michael Siva-Jothy,
from Sheffield University's Department of Animal and Plant
Sciences. He recruited 29 volunteers to test his theory, watching
the bedbugs as they found a place to feed and removing them only as
they were about to bite.
It turned out that more layers of both long visible hairs and
finer, "vellus" hairs near the surface worked as a deterrent to the
insects; those finer hairs also act as an early warning system.
This would explain why bedbugs often attach themselves to wrists or
ankles-however, no one is suggesting that one should try to groom
themselves like one of those GEICO
cavemen: "If you have a heavy coat of long thick hairs it is
easier for parasites to hide, even if you can detect them," said
Siva-Jothy. Even so, it's definitely some food-for-thought
new breed of pest controllers.