New technology cuts costs of killing bedbugs

College campuses are especially susceptible to bedbugs, and getting rid of the tiny parasites is costing some campuses thousands of dollars — but now, a new technology can help, ABC News reports. Researchers Phil Koehler and Roberto Pereira at the University of Florida recently discovered a low-cost way to eradicate bedbugs in furniture — by heating them to death. Clothes, sheets, and other bedding can be placed in a clothes dryer at high heat for about 15 minutes to kill the pests — so why not heat up the infested furniture? With less than $400 of equipment, the researchers created a portable chamber big enough for a bed or dresser. Heaters inside the chamber gently raise its air temperature to a minimum of 113 degrees Fahrenheit — enough to destroy the insects but not damage the items. Their research was published in the Journal of Economic Etymology in July. Koehler said he was recently contacted by officials from a large university that had detected a bedbug infestation in one of its dormitories and threw out $15,000 worth of furniture. Pest control professionals say the cost to eliminate bedbugs from a large area like a college building can be pricey. "Dorms could easily spend $30,000 in a heartbeat," said Jeff Eisenberg, president of Pest Away in New York City. "We have a lot of colleges where they get rid of it, then the students come back, and they’re infested again."

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