Are Bed Bugs Edible? (Uncovered)

Bed bugs can become very annoying issues. These small brown insects feed solely on blood in order to survive. They feed on animal or human blood. The bed bugs can feed on warm-blooded animals, such as cats, birds, and dogs. They are considered to be public health pests. 

If you eat a bed bug, you should not be afraid that it’s dangerous. Your body will easily digest the bed bug just like it digests any other food. However, bed bugs should not be eaten, as they don’t possess much nutrition and are too tiny to prepare.

The bed bugs have not been shown to transmit disease, making them not something to worry about. However, they can cause a variety of physical health consequences, such as allergy. Their bites can cause severe allergic reactions.

What are the nutrients/ingredients of bed bugs? 

There are two species of insects that can be considered bed bugs. These are Cimex lectularius, which is the common bed bug, and Cimex hemipterus – the tropical bed bug. These bugs feed on blood and can survive about 70 days without food.

They are usually light brownish to red-brown bugs with a flat oval body. They can become bigger and more balloon-like after feeding. They don’t have big wings, only the front reduced pad-like structures. The adult bugs are small, around ¼ inch long, and can be compared to the size of the seed inside an apple.

These bugs are able to shed skins through ecdysis, as their cuticle forms a largely inelastic exoskeleton, which can be shed during each stage of development, and a new, bigger covering is formed. This exoskeleton contains chitin, a nitrogen-containing carbohydrate with properties similar to cellulose.

The bed bugs are bloodsuckers. That’s why they have mouth parts that saw through skin. With that, they inject saliva with painkillers and blood thinners. Bed bugs can be filled with blood from their previous host.

Bed bugs also produce some secretions that can inhibit some bacteria and fungi. Also, the bed bugs have some antibacterial components, which can be used against human pathogens. Bed bugs contain a variety of ingredients in a microscopic amount, that doesn’t have any effect when eaten.

The bed bugs contain some protein and fat. The exoskeleton is made of ‘hard sugar’. There are also some tiny bits of saliva and pheromones that don’t play a role when digesting the bugs. It is possible a bed bug can still have some blood inside its body if you eat it. Overall a bed bug is easily digested and not dangerous at all.

Are bed bugs dangerous to eat?

When you eat a bug, it should not be something to worry about. Generally, our body is able to digest arthropods, which include arachnids like spiders, mites, and ticks, and insects such as gnats, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and bedbugs. The body will digest the bed bug just like it digests any other food.

Eating the bed bugs is not dangerous, as they don’t sting or bite, like, for example, wasps or fire ants. If you eat those insects, you may have some problems and allergic reactions. There are people that are allergic to certain proteins that arthropods, which don’t have a sting, possess. 

An example of this is the cockroach. If you inhale the pieces of it, it can lead to some breathing difficulties. This is especially dangerous for people who struggle with asthma or any other breathing conditions. So that it’s better for them to avoid these insects. However, this does not apply to bed bugs, as there were no incidents like that.

Also, there are some arthropods that are passively carrying bacteria on their feet and bodies. However, there has not been found that bed bugs are among those bacteria-carrying arthropods.

How do bed bugs taste?

Bed bugs don’t have any specific taste. They taste like any other bug, which tends to taste a bit nutty. Bed bugs are not big; that’s why you may not even feel their taste. 

As mentioned above, they are about the size of an apple seed, so even if you eat this bug, you may not even notice that you did. The bugs usually contain natural fats and exoskeletons that are rich in minerals.

Where do people eat bed bugs?

People do not really prefer eating bed bugs, as they are very small. In Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines, there are many famous dishes that include certain species of bugs; however, they are not considered bed bugs. However, there are other insects that love eating bed bugs. 

These are several species of ants, such as argentine ants, red imported fire ants, pharaoh ants, as well as cockroaches, thanatus flavidus spiders, house centipedes, and the masked hunter, also known as the masked bed bug hunter. 

Also, among animals that are noted to be enemies of the bed bugs are species of lizards, such as geckos. Many people have a misconception that cats and dogs also eat bed bugs. It is not the truth. 

The only case they may eat bed bugs is totally by accident. However, dogs can actually help you to find bed bugs. Due to their exceptional sense of smell, dogs are able to identify and find bed bug infestations.


Martin is the head of and he loves to share his research and experience with you.

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