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What Tags Should Be Used to Track Bed Bugs?

Posted By RFID Journal, 02.02.2011
I seek an RFID tag that can be mounted on adult bed bugs so that I can track the insects for a research study. Do you have any suggestions?

—Name withheld

Bed bugs range in size from 4 millimeters to 5 millimeters (0.16 inch to 0.2 inch). A typical microchip for an RFID transponder is about 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter (0.14 inch by 0.04 inch), which might be small enough to strap onto a bed bug, but the chip wouldn't work without an antenna.

Hitachi manufactures the smallest RFID transponder available—the µ-chip (mu-chip), which measures 0.4 millimeter by 0.4 millimeter (0.02 inch by 0.02 inch)— which includes the chip and the antenna etched onto that chip (see Hitachi Unveils Smallest RFID Chip and Hitachi Unveils Integrated RFID Tag). The chip operates at 2.45 GHz, and has a read range of approximately 1 millimeter (0.04 inch), due to the small antenna.

You could, perhaps, glue the µ-chip onto a bed bug and create a grid with RFID reader antennas under each square, potentially enabling you to track each insect as it traveled around the grid. You would not, however, be able to do so over a large area without spending a lot of money on interrogators.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor,
RFID Journal

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