Would you let a bed bug bite? Parents have always warned their children throughout time of the pesky creepy crawler, but some researchers seem to choose that option for the bugs they cultivate. Recently, bed bugs have made a comeback thus requiring researchers to host in lab bugs to figure out just how to put an end to this fiend’s infestation. However, hosting the bugs creates the problem of how to feed them. Bed bugs feed on blood and keeping them alive in the lab requires some brain power. The following steps will explain just how these guys do it.
1. Find Food for the Foe
Bed bugs are parasites. They feed on blood, and primarily human blood at that. It’s much easier for the bugs to penetrate a hair-less human than a shaggy dog. Bed bugs will however feed on dogs, cats, and even rodents when necessary.
Many researchers have found that the easiest way to feed the critters is to just lend out an arm, but when the amount of bed bugs being studied is too large that becomes a lot more difficult. Most scientists will order animal blood, from rabbit to dog and everything in-between. In order to maintain the experiments as controlled as possible, the blood must be processed to resemble human blood, the bug’s favorite host. And so, a few scientific processes later, the blood is ready for dinner.
2. Containing the Blood Supply
This is where scientists have to get creative. The containers required to hold the blood must somehow prevent the bed bugs from escaping and the blood from leaking. Scientist will place the blood into any sort of container. This holding device must somehow contain a permeable skin-like layer that will simulate real human skin. From fancy hemotek feeders to one of kind CD feeders, researchers are constantly creating new ways to feed these bloodsuckers.
3. Regulation of the Study
Besides finding the proper holder for the blood, scientists must regulate the blood. Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide and body heat, which is why they prey on sleeping humans. So in order to maintain the experiment as controlled and realistic as possible the blood must be warm and the bugs must be hungry. Some scientists blow on the bugs. The carbon dioxide that is released emulates that of a real sleeping human, and sets the perfect conditions for bed bug dinner time.
4. Keep the Critters Crawling
Many things can go wrong in the lab and the bed bugs can die. Scientists must develop the best feeding patterns for the bugs. Keeping a close eye on the blood and bugs will help maintain them and all the efforts put into the project; a project which researchers hope will help lead to the complete extermination of these nasty pests.
Author Bio: Heydi Ruelas is a journalism student and blogger for Bulwark Exterminating, an industry leader in providing high quality pest control service. When I’m not playing with my two adorable nieces, I’m on the tennis court chasing that little green ball around.