Beating Bed Bugs

“They don’t just live in your bed. They hide behind light switches and power sockets and in between the cracks of the baseboard and underneath your carpet. No hotel, however clean or expensive, can prevent its guests from checking in with bed bugs.” ~ Nina Jenkins
Giovani Bellicanta, left, and Nina Jenkins. Photo by Michael Houtz

Giovani Bellicanta, left, and Nina Jenkins. Photo by Michael Houtz

Research Leads

Nina Jenkins
CEO, ConidioTec
Senior Research Associate, Department of Entomology

Giovani Bellicanta
Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Entomology


AprehendTM is a fungal-based biopesticide spray that safely kills bed bugs by sticking to the insects, which then carry the fungi back to hiding places to infect other bed bugs.

Why It’s Important

  • One out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.
  • Traditional bed bug insecticides can be harmful to human health.
  • Conventional chemical insecticides require multiple applications to be effective, and chemical resistance is building in the bed bug population.
  • Studies show that reports of bedbugs lower the value of hotel rooms by $21-$38.


  • ConidioTec, a Penn State startup company
  • Aprehend™
    • U.S. Patent (14/810,137)
    • EPA approval pending
    • Expected to be available for sale in 2017

Technology Development Awards

  • $150,000 – Committed investors (2017)
  • $49,576 – RAIN Grant (2013)
  • $50,000 – Founders’ investment (2017)
  • $40,000 – IR4 (USDA NIFA) (2012–2014)
  • $25,000 – Ben Franklin Big Idea contest (2014)
  • $21,000 – Northeast Regional IPM (USDA NIFA) (2012–2013)
  • $10,000 – Ben Franklin TechCelerator (2013)
  • $5,000 – Penn State Innovation Programs Discovered and Developed
    in PA R&D grant (2014)
  • $2,500 – North Carolina Biotech business pitch prize money (2014)