It may be tempting to think that bed bugs could be eliminated, if only we found just the right deadly chemical formula. But uncovering new insecticides is a difficult task as well as an expensive one. According to one estimate, each active ingredient takes around a decade to develop at a cost of up to $256 million. If the chemicals can’t save us, what will? Perhaps there could be another way to go about killing off bed bugs by giving an old technique a new twist. Researchers are still trying to build a better bed bug trap, just as inventors and tinkerers did hundreds of years ago. I pored through current research to find out what they were up to. At the entomology conference I went to in Knoxville, where I saw the presentation about Usinger’s bed bugs and population genetics, another talk caught my eye. An insect biomechanics researcher at the University of California, Irvine, had run bed bug after bed bug across the underside of kidney bean leaves to understand how John Locke and people in the Balkans were able to trap bed bugs with these plants.