Bed bug species

Bdedbug DatabaseBed bugs are remarkable examples of evolution in action. Some species are in evolutionary stasis, but the bed bug is active and never static, this process of constant change and adaptation being a requirement if a bug is going to survive by targeting a human being.

It has occurred to me that every attempt to force bed bugs into extinction has failed, since such violent tactics contradict the interests of the bed bug, since bed bugs are driven by a powerful instinct to survive. For this reason I have come up with an idea which would involve eliciting the cooperation of bed bugs rather than inspiring the resistance of bed bugs, which is all we ever accomplish with chemical spraying.

BedbugWhen bed bugs are raised in laboratories they are kept alive by feeding them through the use of membranes containing either pig or chicken blood. Since bed bugs were once sap suckers instead of blood suckers like they are now, it has occurred to me that given how evolutionary active this species, it would be an interesting experiment in living evolution to begin the process of weaning bed bugs off of human blood and back onto plant sap. For you see, bed bugs are just bugs and they are currently trapped in an endless cycle of battling with some unwilling human host for the blood they now require if their species is to survive. Since a human being is the partner of that bug in this symbiotic relationship, and since it is the human who has all the brains in that symbiotic relationship, it should be possible for the human being to use those brains to train bed bugs to find a new food source, and thus bring the battle between bed bugs and human beings to a permanent end, by ‘exterminating' the bed bug species by weaning them off of human blood.

Bedbug DatabaseMy proposal for such an experiment would involve diluting the blood contained in feeding membranes with a small amount of sap from plants. With each generation of bed bugs produced, the amount of sap would be increased and the amount of blood gradually reduced. Since bed bugs are such adaptable creatures, given enough time, and enough generations of bed bugs, I would expect their to emerge at the end of the experiment a strain of ‘plant bugs' which is where bed bugs first began their evolutionary journey, and where they must return.

Such an approach has never been attempted, and if I had the money to fund the experiment myself, I would begin today, because I am convinced this approach would work, and it is certainly worth making an attempt.

Some bed bug species are parasites of bats or birds, and may bite people if the wild hosts are no longer available. If bat bugs or bird bugs are involved, roosting and nesting sites should be the primary focus of treatment and the animals excluded from the building. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is the species most adapted to living with humans. It has done so since ancient times. Bed bugs are mentioned in medieval European texts and in classical Greek writings back to the time of Aristotle. Other bed bug species prefer to feed on wild hosts, especially bats and birds.

All of these species are generally similar in appearance. They are reddish-brown to grayish-brown with an oval body form and about 3/8-in long when full-grown. All are wingless, although small wing pads are present on the back. Their body is flattened when unfed, although they swell rapidly with a blood meal.

Bed bug SpeciesWhen bedbugs are raised in laboratories they are kept alive by feeding them through the use of membranes containing either pig or chicken blood. Since bedbugs were once sap suckers instead of blood suckers like they are now, it has occurred to me that given how evolutionary active this species, it would be an interesting experiment in living evolution to begin the process Bed bug Databaseof weaning bedbugs off of human blood and back onto plant sap. For you see, bedbugs are just bugs and they are currently trapped in an endless cycle of battling with some unwilling human host for the blood they now require if their species is to survive. Since a human being is the partner of that bug in this symbiotic relationship, and since it is the human who has all the brains in that symbiotic relationship, it should be possible for the human being to use those brains to train bedbugs to find a new food source, and thus bring the battle between bedbugs and human beings to a permanent end, by ‘exterminating' the bedbug species by weaning them off of human blood.

Bed Bug DatabaseThe mouthparts of bed bugs are especially adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Like most blood sucking arthropods, they inject saliva during feeding, which has anticoagulant properties. Bed bugs respond to the warmth and carbon dioxide of a host and quickly locate a suitable feeding site. They tend not to live on humans and the only contact is for a blood meal. Most blood feeding occurs at night, and they generally seek shelter during the day and become inactive while digesting the blood meal. However, bed bugs are opportunistic and will bite in the day especially if starved for some time. They can survive for long periods without feeding. While their preferred host is human, they will feed on wide variety of other warm-blooded animals including rodents, rabbits, bats, and even birds.

Being a cryptic species, bed bugs shelter in a variety of dark locations, mostly close to where people sleep. These include under mattresses, floorboards, paintings and carpets, behind skirting, in various cracks and crevices of walls, within bed frames and other furniture, and behind loose wallpaper. Bed bugs tend to stay in close contact with each other and heavy infestations are accompanied by a distinctive sweet sickly smell. Blood spotting on mattresses and nearby furnishings is often a tell tale sign of an infestation.