I Let Bed Bugs Feast On My Blood
I found this guy while bumming around on Flickr the other day. If you're blind and can't see the totally horrifying pictures here, it's a guy who is rearing bed bugs ON HIS OWN FUCKING SKIN. Once I'd made sure the itches and tickles I'd started feeling all over my body were just my imagination, I spoke to him to find out exactly what the fuck he thought he was doing.
VICE: Hi Lou. So, what is going on here? This is really unpleasant.
Lou Sorkin: Hi. I work for an entomological consulting company called Entsult Associates, Inc. I took these photos because I'm really interested in animal behaviour and am especially interested in this insect species. I also like macro-photography and wanted to get some pictures of them in their natural settings – infestations. Some of my photos are taken in infested homes and businesses and some were taken in my lab and home from reared colonies.
How do you rear a bed bug colony?
I rear them on me. The original jar of around 30 was from a well-known researcher, Dr. Harold Harlan, who has been keeping them for over 30 years.
How horrible. Have you learnt anything remarkable?
I was able to learn so much by simply watching the bugs, the interactions between them, with different harbourage areas, and hosts. A problem when taking photos in a heavily infested home is that you can't stay in one place too long and that brushing up against infested furniture allows them to crawl onto you.
I suppose that would be a problem. What does it feel like having that many bed bugs feeding on you at once?
It's kind of difficult to describe. I can feel them feeding at times, especially when a bug is on the skin between my fingers. It's an annoying sensation, not a sharp pain or stinging sensation like a wasp or bee sting. Sometimes it sort of feels like a sharp, hot needle. Sometimes it can be like a slight tickle. Multiple feeding by hundreds of bugs is like the annoying sensation but multiplied by hundred. Sometimes near the end of a feeding session it becomes a dull tickle but sometimes the bite and feeding is imperceptible.
Are you attached to any of the bugs? Do they have names?
I'm not really attached to them, but they are to me when they are feeding. They are very interesting as you might know by now.
Yeah, you're really selling them to me. Who knew something so horrifying could also be so boring?
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