l-r: Robert Britton, Regine Gries and Gerhard Gries earned worldwide acclaim in 2014 for developing a chemical lure that can detect and control bed bugs.


Bed bug control closer with Scotts Canada sponsorship

February 24, 2016

By Diane Luckow

SFU communication ecologist Gerhard Gries says his new technology for detecting and controlling bed bugs is closer to commercialization now that Scotts Canada has become the industrial sponsor of his research chair.

The Industrial Research Chair in Multimodal Animal Communication Ecology at SFU is funded jointly by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and an industrial partner.

Scotts Canada, a division of U.S.-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, has taken over the sponsorship from local firm Contech Enterprises, which went bankrupt last year.

“We are now working with a partner that has the resources—both personnel and financial—to really develop our pest control technologies that show great promise,” says Gries, a renowned researcher in insect and animal communication.

Researchers in his lab study the communication strategies of bees, flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, mice, ants and many other insects and animals.

“Once you understand the language, you can talk back,” explains Gries. “A major part of this talk back, or pest control, is the development work done by the company.

Under the terms of the sponsorship, ScottsMiracle-Gro has access to intellectual property and breakthrough pest-control innovations developed in Gries’ lab.

Recently Gries, research associate Regine Gries, and SFU chemist Rob Britton earned worldwide acclaim for developing a pheromone, or chemical lure, for bed bugs, which have become a global public health concern.

Scotts Canada expects to commercialize bed-bug detection and control products based on this pheromone technology.

Says Gries, “Scotts is in the process of developing the bed bug technology for various markets, such as the consumer market and the structural pest control industry market.”