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The Boston Globe

Ideas

Brainiac

Stand back, bedbugs: we have leaves!

And other recent highlights from the Ideas blog

Bedbugs are one of the persistent urban annoyances of our time, seemingly as quick to spread as the common cold, and impossible to eradicate without turning your life upside down. But at long last, hope arrives, in the form of a new study touting an old remedy for this insidious pest.

The study, which was published on April 10 in the Journal of the Royal Society and discussed recently on the Smithsonian’s blog, examined an unlikely counter-bedbug strategy: kidney bean leaves. The authors report that bean leaves have long been used to combat bedbugs in Eastern Europe, where afflicted homeowners scatter the leaves around their beds at night, the bugs crawl over them and get stuck, and then the leaves are burned in the morning.

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