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Bed Bugs Prefer Virgin Blood

The critters bite less—and lay fewer eggs—when they cosy up with someone who's been drinking.

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By Chrisanne Grise

06/01/12

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There could just be one good thing about going to sleep drunk: bed bugs will be less likely to bite you. While the common bed bug has driven more than one human crazy with its blood-lust, it turns its nose up at blood with a high alcohol content, according to new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln—a preference that may well benefit the bugs, but not so much sober people. The study shows that the higher the blood alcohol concentration, the less blood the bugs consume; as a result, they also lay fewer eggs. But before you start binging to prevent an infestation, keep in mind that while the bugs feed less, they do still feed and lay eggs—95% of which will still hatch. And it only takes a few to create a problem. "I'm not going to suggest someone should consume alcohol to control bed bugs," Ralph Narain, a Ph.D. candidate who conducted the work as part of his dissertation, hastily states. Dini Miller, an entomologist and bed bug expert from Virginia Tech, agrees: "I don't know what sort of implications it has ultimately, because unfortunately they still produce enough eggs to cause an infestation. So while they feed less, still, we're not going to experience less of a problem. But it's very interesting to know."

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