07 Apr Collectabed

The Collectabed has a number of features based on several years of bed bug field observations. For a full description you can find it here: www.freepatentsonline.com/y2017/0065095.html

I have noticed over the years that bed bugs have very specific likes and dislikes for harbourage substrates. A bed with very little suitable harbourage will disperse bugs much faster than a bed with a good supply of preferred substrates. One of the most important features of the Collectabed is the use of cardboard (preferred substrate) in strategic locations to keep bed bugs from dispersing away from the bed. Single faced cardboard is covered by a thin smooth raw wood panel (again preferred substrate) to make an irresistible corrugated sandwich that can be opened and inspected like a book.

I asked Richard Naylor to test this feature of the collectabed. He built a two foot square “bed” about 12 inches tall with 4 raw wood legs and placed it in a 3 foot square arena. Around the entire outside perimeter of the “bed” were placed horizontal strips of 6 inch wide single face cardboard which, in turn, was covered with 1/8 inch thick smooth raw wood panel. The inside edges of the smooth panel were taped to the bed top with duct tape to make a hinge allowing easy inspection of the corrugated card directly underneath. A two foot square foam “mattress” covered in cloth was placed on top of the cardboard/wood panel sandwich. A plastic water carrier heated to body temperature by a small immersible heater was placed in the middle of the mattress. The water carrier was surrounded by a blood feeder heated by the water carrier simulating a human host. Basically this was a miniature Collectabed (without the brushed burlap crevice, semi slippery vertical edge to allow bugs access to the bed but prevent replete bugs from climbing down, or glue boards) as described in the patent documents complete with simulated host. Day/night cycles were introduced via automated lighting and Co2 was introduced in the dark phase.

The first experiment involved placing 25 bugs on the floor of the arena under the bed. Within 2 weeks every single bug was in the cardboard.

The second experiment involved adding recently fed bugs to the top of the bed to see how many bugs a small Collectabed could hold before dispersal occurred. Recently fed bugs were added on top of the “bed” at rate of 20 or 30 per day to mimic natural growth. In the end the cardboard held 840 bugs before the first bugs dispersed out of the cardboard. If one calculated the amount of cardboard in a regular sized collectabed one could theoretically collect several thousand bugs before dispersal occurred.

We have used the collectabed in the field and it appears that the lab results can be duplicated there as well. When confronted with highly resistant bugs and poor tenant cooperation the Collectabed is indispensable for us. We discard/replace the cardboard every few weeks. We can also see the progress the suite is making by easily inspecting the cardboard. Of course this does not mean that the Collectabed works like magic. It is a specific tool that works extremely well. Any tool can be used inappropriately causing failure. For example failure to launder blankets and pillows regularly may cause failure as some bugs are too lazy to migrate the 12 inches to the cardboard. Or if blankets touch the ground problems may occur. Or perhaps there are bugs feeding during the day in the couch and a Collectabed can not solve that problem.

On the other hand smaller infestations invariably are found on the bed or in close proximity to the bed (assuming people actually sleep there) and many people are able to follow directions such as keeping blankets off the floor and doing laundry which bodes well for the Collectabed. Settings like hotels are ideal for the Collectabed where the device is used proactively. The bugs are contained in specific locations and easily monitored and addressed. Dispersal to neighbouring suites is greatly reduced. The Collectabed is the epitome of integrated pest management. We alter the environment to suit the needs of the humans – not the needs of the bugs.