I’ve covered how ectoparasitic insects are cultured (and fed) before here at the Bug Blog. It gets discussed in this interesting article from NYT:

“The classic bedbug strain that all newly caught bugs are compared against is a colony originally from Fort Dix, N.J., that a researcher kept alive for 30 years by letting it feed on him.  But Stephen A. Kells, a University of Minnesota entomologist, said he “prefers not to play with that risk.”  He feeds his bugs expired blood-bank blood through parafilm, which he describes as “waxy Saran Wrap.”

I think this is one of my favorite quotes EVAR from a news story:

“Coby Schal of North Carolina State said he formerly used condoms filled with rabbit blood, but switched to parafilm because his condom budget raised eyebrows with university auditors.”

Even better, I know the guy that invented the now-defunct condom system!   The article ends with questions asked of Dini Miller:

Well, he was asked — can you feel them bite?  “No,” he said. “If I put them on my arm and close my eyes, I never feel them. But I once got my children to put them on my face, and I did. Maybe there are more nerve endings.”

Why in the world, he was asked, would he ask his kids to do that?
“Oh, you know,” he said. “Bug people are crazy.”

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. And his rabbit blood bills were just glossed over?

  2. Well, yeah! I mean, all faculty have a routine rabbit blood sacrifice line item in their budgets, right?

  3. We have had a record year ourselves with Bedbugs. At times we are treating four to five premises a week for Bedbugs

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