May Berenbaum on Bed Bugs

May Berenbaum, entomologist extraordinaire, considers the modern bed bug resurgence in today’s NY Times:

I had been a professor of entomology for 15 years before I saw my first live bedbug. It crawled out of a plastic film canister that had been mailed to me by a distraught student in the Boston area who had no idea what it was. I was so thrilled to see a live bedbug, I showed it off to every graduate student I ran into that day: Cimex lectularius ā€” a small, flat, wingless, brown ectoparasite that hides in cracks and crevices in human dwellings and emerges under cover of darkness to feast on human blood.

That was in 1995, and none of my students had laid eyes on Cimex lectularius either.

Read the whole thing.

5 thoughts on “May Berenbaum on Bed Bugs”

    1. I wasn’t originally going to include an image, but considering that I did the photo shoot just upstairs from May’s office (in a controlled lab environment, thankfully) it seemed appropriate to paste one in…

  1. A great article! I didn’t know that bedbugs don’t spread disease… I would think that the way they can gorge on blood once and store it for a year would make them great vectors or ‘hideouts’ for diseases. Hopefully I’ll see my own bedbug someday (in a lab, not my room).

  2. There is a spider species, Harpactea sadistica, that uses the same strategy for mating. The male has a needle-like ending on the bulbus of his pedipalpus, he simply stings it through the females’s abdomen… I wonder if there would be other animals that has similar sexual behaviour. I think this is a cheap way to be the first. šŸ™‚

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