By Nancy Dillon / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
That glass of wine before bedtime could bring relief in more ways than one.
New research suggests bed bugs don’t have much taste for boozy blood and lay fewer eggs when their feedings contain alcohol.
This penchant for a sober meal could mean fewer bites for hosts who imbibe, a New York entomologist now studying at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found.
“(Bed bugs) need a blood meal to grow and to molt and to reproduce,” Ralph Narain, the University of Nebraska Ph.D. candidate from Suffolk County, told the website LifesLittleMysteries.com. “And one of their main hosts are humans, and we consume a lot of (alcohol).”
Narain fed blood mixed with different levels of alcohol to groups of the bugs in his lab and presented his findings to the National Conference on Urban Entomology in Atlanta last week.
The bed bugs that fed on clean blood reportedly doubled their body mass and laid an average of 44 eggs each.
The more alcohol the bugs received, the less they grew. Those that drank blood laced with the most alcohol grew only 12.5 percent and laid only a dozen eggs, Life’s Little Mysteries reported.
Experts said it’s still too early to toast the findings as a new method to fight infestations: “If the bed bugs are still producing, they can cause an infestation. Twelve hatchlings are an infestation right there, and they could increase to a major infestation in about two or four weeks time,” exterminator Barry Pollack with Metro Bed Bug Dogs in New York told the Daily News.
He said the nasty nymphs also incubate quicker in warmer months.
“My business increases by 30% when the thermometer hits 80 degrees,” he said. “My biggest tips to people are to treat their luggage with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle when they travel and don’t bring in any used furniture.”