New ‘wet feet’ repellent may make cockroaches history

October 13th, 2009 - 1:15 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Oct 13 (ANI): A new insect repellent, which can make termites, cockroaches and other pests to develop wet feet, has now been unveiled by Cambridge University scientists.

Researchers have claimed that they have developed a cheap, durable, non-toxic and environmentally safe coating that causes the creatures to behave like “someone with wet feet in the shower”.

And the feta could thwart the threat of pests responsible for billions of pounds worth of damage to homes, crops and people’s health each year.

“Insects are capable of clinging to almost any natural and artificial substrate by using an emulsion with properties similar to custard or ketchup. They secrete this fluid from pads located on the bottom of their feet,” The Daily Express quoted a university spokesman as saying.

“When studying insect pads in detail, the zoologists discovered that the special surface coating changes the properties of this fluid. As a consequence, the adhesive secretion turns into a lubricant and the insects start slipping, like someone with wet feet in the shower,” added the spokesman.

Jan-Henning Dirks, who designed the coating with Christofer Clemente and Walter Federle, said: “We first came across these surface properties quite by accident, but soon we realised that this could actually be something really useful.”

“Surfaces at risk of infestation both inside and outside the home may benefit from the insect repellent coatings.

“From crop protection to pest-proof ventilation pipes, furniture and Wellingtons, as well as insect-repellent food containers and baby bottles, the practical applications for use are endless - and hugely exciting,” said Gillian Davis, technology manager at Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s commercialisation arm.

The coating has the potential to restrict the movement of many insects, including ants, cockroaches, termites and locusts.

The university said that the coating is environmentally safe and leaves insects unharmed. (ANI)

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