A new coating turns insects’ sticky climbing feet into a slippery mess, and could be the future of pest repellent, according to a new research paper. You hear that, bugs? If you can’t crawl up my kitchen counter from the floor, you can’t go waving your disgusting antennae all over my pizza, you insects-who-shall-not-be-named of apartment horror.
Insects naturally secrete a fluid that’s an emulsion of oily and watery liquids that helps them stick to almost any surface. The scientists’ polyimide coating absorbs the watery part, cutting bugs’ friction on vertical surfaces by about 40 percent. You can see the difference in the video below.
The repellent is cheap and nontoxic, so it could be useful for those with pets or babies, or those who just don’t want to coat their kitchens in poison (or disapprove of the killing of arthropods). The tech will likely work on a variety of insects, including ants, cockroaches, and termites and could be used to protect crops, homes, and food.
The paper by University of Cambridge zoologists will appear in the November 6th issue of the scientific journal Journal of the Royal Society: Interface.