Bed bugs in the media: Animal Planet’s “Monsters Inside Me”

by nobugsonme on July 16, 2009 · 2 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in the media

The Animal Planet show “Monsters Inside Me” recently featured an episode on bed bugs. Though the series title is misleading (since bed bugs do not live inside people), it is a show about human parasites.

I strongly caution you that the images linked below can be quite disturbing to someone who is experiencing, has experienced, or suspects a bed bug infestation.

The first clip provides an introduction and shows entomologist (and friend-to-Bedbugger) Dr. Louis Sorkin (of the American Museum of Natural History) feeding his bed bug colony and Lou and a bed bug sufferer talking about her bed bug infestation. The second goes into more detail on bed bug bites (with images of bed bugs feeding), and the third talks mostly about traumatic insemination (the bed bugs’ mode of reproduction, which is as nasty as it sounds). There are live and computer graphic animations of bed bugs feeding, having sex, and laying eggs.

Update (7/17):

Unfortunately, as Lou pointed out to me in an email, the digital graphic of the bed bug feeding, their narrator’s description of the feeding process, as well as the description of the mating process given by their biologist are all incorrect!

Lou points out that the announcer describes the stylet system as a syringe and straw, which is inaccurate; it is also figured only as a large proboscis.

Their biologist also “incorrectly describes the mating by referring to the male jabbing the female’s back (rather than her venter, and also not into a specific place on the abdominal venter).”

Thanks to Lou for his ceaseless efforts to learn about bed bugs and to spread good, accurate information about bed bugs, and for sharing these clips with us.

Read more stories about bed bugs in the media.

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1 EffeCi July 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Great…

2 Kate Boddington May 24, 2010 at 8:48 am

Dear Lou

I’ve noticed from this website that you are an expert in the field of bedbugs and was hoping you may be of some assistance to me.

We are a London based production company called Darlow Smithson Productions, and we’ve been commissioned to produce a new series for Discovery’s ‘Animal Planet’ channel called ‘Extreme Infestation’. As the title suggests, the series will focus on the very worst cases of infested homes, workplaces or public buildings and examine the science of how / why it happens and what can be done to solve the problem.

I spotted your post regarding ‘Monsters Inside Me’ and it is clear that you have a very specialist knowledge of this subject matter.

We are in the research stages at present and so are keen to reach out to as many pest control professionals/experts and home-owners with pest problems as possible. It would be great if you were able to share your expert knowledge with us, and help us reach out to any other industry contacts you may have to alert them of our need for case studies of current and past extreme cases.

Each case study in addition to expert contribution, will be led by the first-hand account of the homeowner. We’re covering any type of pest, including mice, cockroaches, spiders, termites, ants, bats, moles, bees, wasps, bats, frogs, woodworm, snakes, birds, squirrels and moths etc. And as well as British stories we’ll be filming across North America and also in Australia. In addition to finding experts in specific fields, we are also keen to find people who can tell the story of living with the pests. If this is an event that happened some time ago we are hoping the person will have shot their own video footage. If it is a ‘live’ story (and we can get out in order to film it in time) then we can film it then, or else ask the participants to film what they can until we arrive. We can be as discreet as is required.

It would be fantastic if you were able to help us to pinpoint any current infestations that are on a large scale, and also if you have any leads on any past extreme or unusual cases that may have been home videoed or even featured on the local news.

In addition to home video footage, we intend to use CGI to illustrate the animal behaviour, such as the path of termites through a house and their nesting behaviour etc. Where relevant, we’ll also conduct small scale experiments e.g. time-lapse lab experiment showing a colony munching away on strips of wood over several weeks.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks

Kate

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