Christmas Dinner Chez Lou

by nobugsonme on December 25, 2010 · 6 comments

in bed bugs, photos of bed bugs

Lou shared some unusual photos today of his bed bug colony feeding — the bugs are in an atypical feeding posture, lying down on their backs.

With his characteristic humor, Lou wrote,

“Not sure if they ate too much or are basically just lazy after dining out.”

Merry Christmas, everyone, and may all your bed bugs be confined to jars.

Many thanks to Lou, as always, for generously sharing his time, information, and photos with us.

You can click the photos to see them in more detail.

jar & feeding, mostly adults, labium straight

Lou says of this photo:

Jar & feeding, mostly adults, labium straight

Atypical feeding position. Bed bugs stayed on the cardboard and when moved away from skin, would not move forward onto skin but back up and retreat into corrugations. Front legs not used to assist in pushing stylet fascicle into skin, labium not bent, so feeding here must be shallow. See close-up insert. Red skin color is basically a birthmark, a nevus, but small red dots are from previous feeding by other bed bugs.

This feeding posture does not fit that described by Usinger (1966) Monograph of Cimicidae, Chapter 3-Bites, page 34 and figure 3-1 on page 35.

jar & feeding, mostly nymphs, labium straight

Lou describes this photo as follows:

Jar & feeding, mostly nymphs, labium straight

Not the typical position, bed bugs stretching and feeding and basically feeding while lying down on their backs. See close up insert. They haven’t used their front legs to hold onto the skin so stylet fascicle not deeply inserted into skin and labium is not bent.

Update (12/28):

More from the synchronized bed bug dining team. Lou offers a third photo, better showing the position of the bed bugs legs:

Jar & feeding, mostly nymphs, labium straight

Lou writes,

Jar & feeding, mostly nymphs, labium straight

See close-up insert of whole bug, front legs not holding onto substrate.

Besides Lou’s hand, I suspect the team might enjoy dining on people who are dining in the dark.

Luckily for the rest of us, they don’t get out of their jar much, except for the occasional media appearance.

Photos by Louis Sorkin, used under a Creative Commons Attribution/No Derivative Works license

1 CarpathianPeasant December 25, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Downright interesting. Creepy, too.

2 nobugsonme December 26, 2010 at 12:07 am

I agree, CarpathainPeasant.

I told Lou I think they look a little like the Olympic Bed Bug Synchronized Dining Team.

3 nobugsonme December 28, 2010 at 8:06 am

Updated to add third photo above. Thanks, Lou!

4 NotSoSnug December 28, 2010 at 7:07 pm

LOL @ NoBugs, Dining Team… Interesting photos!

When I had several born-in-a-jar 1st instar nymphs, alarmingly, one of them ‘grabbed’ a severed, dessicated leg of a dead adult and was waving it at me. That virtually doubled it’s reach, I assume to try to catch me as I hovered over the jar opening.

One thing was clear at that point, those little clasping pincers on their legs are capable of one heck of a good grip.

5 nobugsonme December 30, 2010 at 8:57 am


If you’ve ever made a foray into animation, that would be a fabulous little animated short.

6 JW January 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Very informative!!!! Thank you…. Maybe can help me. My husband has been working in Vail, CO for about 8 weeks. Over the last 3 to 4 weeks he has complained regarding itching…and has sores. We went to the Dr. and Dr. thought and suspected “bed bugs”… I however, DO NOT have bites…. He has them on back and shoulders and also has moved to tummy…. He is home usually 3 days of week… and HAS been home a week due to a broken ankle. I have checked bed, etc… Is it possible I do not have them because I sleep during the day????? No one really knows ?? I am not even sure if this is the problem…. any advice would be great!!!!! Thanks soooo Much.

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