Microfabricated Surfaces For The Physical Capture Of Bed Bugs And Other Insects

Tech ID: 23533 / UC Case 2012-501-0


Bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback in recent years, infesting everything from homes and hotels to schools, movie theaters and hospitals. Current forms of treatment (e.g. heat, cold, vacuuming, and pesticides) tend to be costly, tedious, and unreliable. Hiring a professional can be expensive, and unfortunately many bed bug sufferers resort to ineffective, potentially dangerous measures.

Technology Description

Researchers at the University of California and the University of Kentucky have developed a concept for the physical capture of bed bugs using microfabricated surfaces. These pesticide-free microfabricated surfaces mimic plant leaf structures that can capture bed bugs, and their functional aspects include the shape, spacing, and orientation of the microstructures. It was shown that the geometry and the mechanical properties of the microstructures influence the effective capture of bed bugs. Polymers are used in microfabrication that do not generate aversion or avoidance by the bed bugs. Results from this research were recently published (M. W. Szyndler et al., J. R. Soc. Interface 2013; 10 (83):20130174), and received high profile press coverage from the N.Y. Times, BBC News, Business Week, Scientific American and others.


Microfabricated surfaces which entrap insects afford new opportunities for pest control, especially in the critical, early stages of infestation. Incorporating these new materials into carpets, rugs, and other surfaces within dwellings will potentially revolutionize the prevention, detection and control of bed bugs using sustainable, environment-friendly technology.


Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 9,930,877 04/03/2018 2012-501
United States Of America Issued Patent 9,468,203 10/18/2016 2012-501

Additional Patent Pending


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Other Information


Bed Bugs, Physical Capture, Microfabricated Surfaces, Pesticide-Free, Pest Control

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