Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 11th Nov 2012

Bed Bug Biology

Bedbug (c) Toby Fountain

Bed bug cases are on the rise after a 50 year absence from much of the Western world.  But why now?  We explore the genetics and bizarre biology of these parasitic pests.  In the news, we examine the fungal disease killing Ash trees across Europe that may decimate up to 40% of British woodland...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:10 - The Rise of the Bed Bug

    Bed bug infestations are on the rise. Although UK has been relatively clear of them for the last 50 years, we are now seeing a rapid rise in the number of cases, but it’s not entirely clear why. Now, scientists are turning to genetic techniques to help them uncover the cause o...

  • 09:23 - The Bed Bug's Bizarre Sex Life

    Bed bugs are one of a very small handful of species who demonstrate an unusual type of mating behaviour known as ‘traumatic insemination’. This is where the male, rather than delivering sperm into a specially evolved organ actually pierces the abdomen of the female and delivers...

  • 15:46 - Earliest evidence for bows, arrows and human language

    Delicate stone arrowheads dating from 71,000 years ago have been unearthed in South Africa, providing the earliest indirect evidence for high-level human language and technological capacity.

  • 19:36 - Modelling Human Disease with a Lung-on-a-Chip

    Mimicking human organs and diseases in the lab could help to investigate diseases and rapidly screen compounds to find new drugs, and now, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have made a lung-on-a-chip capable of modellin...

  • 21:52 - What is Ash Dieback?

    A major news story in the UK this month has been the discovery of Ash dieback disease, a fungal infection that destroys ash trees. To find out more about this threat and whether or not we can control it before it spreads further, we’re joined by Reading University Plant Patholo...

  • 32:23 - Password Passed Down Before Hatching

    In Fairy-wrens, hungry chicks need to give a password to get food from their mother, and research published in Current Biology shows that they learn this password while still in the egg....

  • 35:20 - Human Hormones Feminising Fish - Planet Earth Online

    What happens to the hormone disrupting chemicals found in contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapies once they’ve passed through the body? Well, they end up in the sewage system and eventually as effluent into the rivers. But it seems many of these chemicals are still...

  • 40:31 - Finding and Fighting Bed Bugs

    cases of bed bug infestations we’ve heard are on the rise, but how do you know you’ve actually got them and what can you do if you have got them?

  • 48:39 - Do bed bugs prefer certain people?

    My name is Robert. I'm from Norwich. I have some experience back in 1970 when I was living in RAF Changi. In each room there were 8 men, all very clean and showered every day and there was always 2 or 3 of them in each room who got infested with bed bugs terribly. Strange thi...

  • 50:06 - Can an electric blanket kill bed bugs?

    Does a heated or possibly an electric blanket kill off bed bugs or does it make them more active?

  • 50:41 - Do bed bugs hibernate?

    How long do bed bugs hibernate and is it wise to take rags or curtains from a flat that’s been treated for bed bugs?

  • 51:33 - How long could one survive eating yourself?

    I suppose the question could be posed relative to any higher animal . My unvarnished question and maybe more palatable as "thought experiment" I recall in past that humans can last about one month with no food. If one sets aside medical complications , how long could a ...



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