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Tattooed by Bed Bugs

When people are waffling on whether or not to get a tattoo two highly cited reasons for their indecision are a fear of needles and the permanence of the tattoo. We have some good news and bad news to offer these people. The good news is that there is now a way to get a non-permanent tattoo without the use of needles, the bad news is that you have to willingly be bit by bed bugs thousands of times to get the mark.

In an upcoming episode of the Science Channel’s “Outrageous Acts of Science” urban entomologist Matt Camper shows off his “bed bug tattoo gun.” The device consists of a jar filled with the parasitic insects with a mesh top upon which a design of a rabbit has been left open. Then the blood-drinking bugs that have become a scourge to many city dwellers feast upon the subject’s arm, according to the Huffington Post.


A couple of hours later the “tattoo” will show up as an inflammation that will last about two weeks.

“It’s a lot like regular tattoos,” Camper jokes as the bugs feast on his arm. “Once you have one you just crave getting another one done.”

As the bugs feed on Camper he explains that the bugs are not known to transmit any human pathogens, thus making the tattoo was perfectly safe. Once the “tattoo” was finished Camper shows how the bugs have swelled to twice their size and turned from white to red.

Camper details how over the period of two weeks the spot where the bugs dined changed from an enormous red welt into pus-filled blisters in the shape of a rabbit before finally healing into the red “tattoo” pictures above.

While we give Camper props for the ingenuity he showed in creating the bed bug tattoo machine we’d much rather opt for the needles and a permanent tattoo than have thousands of bed bugs chow down on our skin.