h a l f b a k e r y
Expensive, difficult, slightly dangerous, not particularly effective... I'm on a roll.
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Linked is some fine reading about
bedbugs. Bedbug infestation of furniture
is apparently a difficult problem because
is hard to adequately poison a whole sofa
and rid it of bedbugs. Likewise clothing.
Fleans and flea eggs pose a similar
I propose that a device like a handheld
microwave oven could be used to
cloth and metal items, ridding them of
vermin within. This would be for
professional use. The items themselves
would not get hit (unless there was metal
in there, which could spark) but the little
bloodbags hiding would get very hot,
which hurts them. Heh!
I could have sworn I saw a handheld
microwave on the HB before but maybe it
Bedbugs - NewYorker
[bungston, Jul 04 2005]
Crazy bedbug blog
Once you get past the cussing preface, this story really brings home the bedbug horror. [bungston, Jul 04 2005]
...and yet, they DO pop.
Microwave de-infestation of textiles. Both the insects and the idea are baked. [Basepair, Jul 04 2005]
||Freezing is recommended for eradicating house dust mites - would this work for bed-bugs? Liquid nitrogen, or a bed-sized freezer - it would have the advantage of nice cool sheets.
||Neat idea. My only concern would be
whether small insects can be killed
easily with microwaves. I'm not sure
here, but I think it's difficult to heat
(with microwaves) something which is
very much smaller than the wavelength
of the microwave.
an un-hygienic sadist here, who is
prepare to try microwaving a small bug
in the cause of science. Alternatively,
try microwaving a half-a-grain of
||Aha! I stand corrected:
Chio-Cheng, and Streit demonstrated
that 2450 MHz microwave radiation will
disinfest wool textiles without
significantly changing the color of
various acid dyes and natural dyes
commonly used on wool or without
causing a significant loss in fabric
This, by the way, is
allegedly the wavelength of a domestic
microwave oven. (Linky)
||Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that in a microwave, it only heats what's INSIDE it, to stop microwaves getting to humans. What kind of handheld microwave fits a sofa?
||What would the couch smell like
||This would not work: Microwaves can only penetrate something to about half a wavelength, which effectively means that you can't microwave anything larger than a chicken. Also, most mattresses, sofas, etc. contain a lot of metal in the form of springs, which will heat up very rapidly and set fire to the mattress or sofa - which would sterilise it I suppose but not in a good way.
||[Hippo], half a wavelength is still about 6cm (2.5 inches, for the imperially benighted) - if you got at it from both sides, that'd be ok.
||//Microwaves can only penetrate
something to about half a wavelength//
Well, they can penetrate air for an
effectively unlimited distance (hence
radar). So presumably they could
penetrate fluffy items (which are mostly
air) for a considerable distance.
I agree about the springs,
though. Nevertheless, [+]
||Hmm. It looks like gamma would be the way to go. That is a fine link, [Basepair]. I wonder if a museum might acquire an obsolete medical irradiation machine and use it for sterilization?
||I read somewhere that the current plague of bed bugs is due to the effectiveness of roach motels. (It wasn't explained whether it's because the roaches are no longer eating the bed bugs, or because hotels, etc., are no longer using such powerful insecticides.)
||However, when we have stayed in hotels in lands where bed bugs are endemic (besides the US, that is), we have always found a can of Raid to be entirely adequate. Upon arriving, spray the bedding and room at large, then go out for dinner or whatever while the hazardous chemicals settle.
||Oh and yeah, I think the handheld microwave was one of mine.
||I don't think you'd find it easy to make a
safe hand-held gamma source. Ours is
the size of a small safe and weighs
considerably more, though most of that
is shielding. I'm not sure if it is
possible to generate a directional beam
of gamma (as it is for microwaves), so
you'd need shielding somewhere, I
Plus, you might be
free of bedbugs but your neighbour's
hair would fall out.