Photo of newly mated male and female bed bugs

by nobugsonme on December 14, 2009 · 6 comments

in bed bugs

Lou Sorkin (of the American Museum of Natural History) has generously shared the following new image with us. He describes it as,

. . . 2 bugs in a small box, 1/4 inch graph paper. Male & female just fed and mated 48 hours prior to picture. Sometimes both are together, sometimes apart. Here (in close-up) the female had already laid an egg which can occur 24 hours after mating. Unfortunately, I hadn’t looked at the box after first 24 hours. Fecal spot is pale because first digested fluid must be the plasma portion of the blood. This bug hadn’t eaten for months. I think if a bug had already consumed blood within a few days of feeding again, the remaining blood in the gut would be primarily red blood cells, so a newly fed bug that had digested blood in the gut would defecate out the dark, digested blood first, hence dark spotting from what appears to be a recently fed bug. Although if a bug feeds and fills to capacity, possibly a large amount of feces quickly ejected could be a dark mixture but I haven’t looked at this yet. I’ve seen posted bed bug movies where the ejected liquid is dark, but I don’t know if the bug that had been feeding had been starved for months and the gut is empty or it had recently fed within a few days time.


Image copyright: All Rights Reserved, Dr. Louis Sorkin.

Thanks, Lou!

Note: you can see the original here.

1 ThisBites December 14, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Ewwww! I know he’s doing important research but SMASH THEM BOTH and their nasty offspring. I’m glad someone is trying to find out more about these vermin-we need entomologists like Lou Sorkin.

2 nobugsonme December 15, 2009 at 12:38 am

Yes, ThisBites —

Bed bugs are horrible.

Dr. Louis Sorkin is absolutely amazing. He subjects himself to multiple bed bugs feeding in one spot on his arm regularly, to keep them alive, just so he can learn more about them.

3 Lou Sorkin December 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Just to clarify:
I actually feed them on multiple areas on both arms and hands and over the past few years of feeding my response has lessened. I still experience a swelling at the bite site, but it lasts less than an hour. Then hours later there might be a red mark where the bug had been feeding, but it is much less red than I had experienced months or years ago. Sometimes bugs don’t feed to repletion and move a few millimeters and try again – so multiple bites from one bug. When I feed hundreds through the screening of the jar, the bite site swells (I’ve uploaded images of those to also) and the 1 inch circle area become red, but not as red as years ago. Also basically have no itchiness, but that’s something that had been from the start – it didn’t get worse or better.

4 nobugsonme December 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Thanks, Lou.

I still think you’re amazing! Thanks for everything you do. 🙂

5 nobugsonme December 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm

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