Don’t let the bed bugs bite, is what we’ve always been told. But Matt Camper, an urban entomologist at Colorado State University, is doing the exact opposite. He’s gone and created a unique ‘bedbug tattoo gun’ – made of a jar, some wire mesh and thousands of hungry bed bugs. You simply invert the jar onto your skin, let the bed bugs bite, and later admire the pink, temporary tattoo they leave behind.
Camper’s unique invention will be featured on an upcoming edition of ‘Outrageous Acts of Science’ on the Science Channel. There’s a rabbit pattern on the top of the jar, through which the bugs are allowed to access human flesh. According to wildlife expert Ellie Harrison, it takes two hours for the tattoo to really show up on the skin. “Two hours after the bed bugs have fed, the inflammatory response really kicks in and immune cells will flood into the tissues from the blood, producing redness and swelling and heat,” she says on the TV show.
“Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood,” she said. “They find us via two sources. Firstly, they detect our body head, and secondly, they detect our carbon dioxide emissions. And they don’t need to be that close, they can be 10 feet away and still find food.”
Photo: video caption
In case you’re wondering, the bed bug tattoos don’t really hurt so much. Biologist Carin Bodnar says that when the bed bugs bite, they release something called a stylet into the skin. “There’s two tubes here, and through one of these tubes they’re sending in their saliva. And the saliva has both an anticoagulant – a chemical that actually keeps the blood from clotting up – and also an anesthetic, so this is really good because whoever they’re biting can’t feel it.”
But biologist Chris Krishna-Pillay disagrees. “If you’re going to get bitten by a thousand bed bugs, a bunny rabbit is really a bit soft,” he says. “You’d got to go for something a bit harder, maybe a skull and crossbones.”
Well, if they really are harmless, I think these tattoos are a cool idea. They last for about two weeks before fading away, which is pretty good for a temporary tattoo, don’t you think?
Source: Huffington Post