How to Feed a Bed Bug (in a Lab)

When we were developing the ZappBug Oven, part of our testing included using live bed bugs.  We purchased the bed bugs from a research laboratory; and just before the entomologist at the lab sent them to us, he assured us that they had “just been fed.”

It crossed my mind at the time, how exactly do they feed them? Thrust a poor lab assistant’s arm into a tank of live bed bugs?

Thanks to writer Brooke Borel, now I know.  She visited entomology laboratories around the country to take a look at their bed bug feeding setups.

In some labs with smaller colonies, it is, in fact, the researcher offering up his or her own arm or leg for a meal. Yikes!

For labs who don’t offer human meals there are all sorts of feeding setups from the ingeniously jury rigged to the very expensive and sophisticated.

Borel’s article makes for fascinating–and slightly creepy–reading.

 

Posted by Andrew Havlis

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