Imagine your bedroom infested with these tiny bugs. But, what if they were the same size as us? How much blood would a giant bed bug drink? How fast could they take over the world? And could bright colors save you from an attack?
Since the early 2000s, bed bug infestations have been increasing in countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The bites themselves are not harmful, but they can be annoying and itchy.
But, imagine if the bed bugs were the same size as we are. That would be a scene straight out of a horror movie. Would they still be able to hide away?
The average bed bug, Cimex lectularius or the tropical Cimex hemipterus are about 7 mm (0.27 in) long. The size of an apple seed.
They’re flat and round, with a reddish-brown color. Now super-size one of these bugs to human size. And oh boy, would it be scary.
They’d be 200 times bigger. And even more terrifying, a bed bug can consume seven times its weight in blood. Our bodies contain about 5 l (10.5 pints) of blood.
And a human-sized bed bug weighing 79 kg (175 lb) could consume – brace yourself – 553 kg (1219 lb) of blood in one meal. So it would need to suck 110 people dry.
And these bloodsuckers would only get bigger after gorging themselves on your blood. A giant bed bug, would rapidly expand to 260 cm (102 in).
It would be the vampire and bug apocalypse rolled into one. Well, giant bugs that can suck all your blood for breakfast would be deadly hunters, and we’d be their prey.
It’s bad enough that the bed bugs are human-sized, but do you know how fast they would multiply? According to Phil Koehler of the University of Florida, “One pair of bedbugs can become 35,000 in just 10 weeks. Which means in just a few weeks a bed bug infestation could explode exponentially.
We would be overrun with giant biting bugs in no time. And you probably wouldn’t feel it when they attack you. Bed bugs’ saliva contains an anesthetic, so their bites are nearly painless. What could you do to fight back?
You could fight them toe-to-toe, and that would be all too horrifying. However, we could learn from tiny bed bugs. A 2016 study found they don’t like the colors yellow or green, and they much prefer red or black to hide in.
So having brightly colored sheets or walls might deter them, or defend you against the giant bugs. If you would rather fight them, then good old fire and ice might be your best options.
Get yourself a flamethrower, and you’re good to go. Or, you could trap them in one of those storage freezers to kill them. So, it looks like it would probably be an all-out war with humans vs. giant bed bugs.
And we are waging that war right now with real bed bugs. Yes, they are much smaller, but that means they can easily hide from us. And they can cause issues like irregular heartbeats due to blood loss.
- “Bedbugs: Facts, Bites And Infestation”. Megan, Gannon. 2021. livescience.com.
- “Typical populations of bedbugs can cause harmful blood loss in humans, research finds”. Mickie Anderson 2021. phys.org.
- “Bed Bugs and Blood-Sucking Conenose1” 2021. edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
- “Bed Bug Facts: 6 Little-Known Facts About Bed Bugs”. 2021. pestworld.org.
- “How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?”. Sandra Kraft and Larry Pinto. 2021. PCT – Pest Control Technology.
- “Terminix Releases Its List Of The Top 50 Most Bed Bug-Infested Cities”. businesswire.com.
- “Anemia – Symptoms And Causes”. 2021. Mayo Clinic.