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Herbivores become man-eaters: bugs suddenly bite people en masse


Unusual behavior of bugs: herbivores sting people
Experts are currently amazed by the prey scheme of a particular bug species. The insects of the species Psallus varians are no longer just eating greens and aphids, but rather stinging people in western Germany. Experts suspect that the insane weather could be to blame for the change in behavior.

Taste of human blood found
According to the Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V. (NABU) there are around 40,000 types of bugs worldwide. In Germany there are said to be almost 1,000. The trend is increasing, because climate change is causing some species to expand their area to the north. A few years ago it was said that bed bugs are also conquering Germany again. “There are vegetarian bugs as well as scavengers, robbers and mixed food. What they all have in common is that they can only eat liquid food, ”NABU writes on its website. According to the experts, some predatory bugs can pierce human skin. This is also a type of bug that is currently making a name for itself in Germany, since it has apparently found a taste for human blood.

Mass reports from West Germany
"It's an amazing behavior," bug expert Wolfgang Dorow from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt told the news agency dpa. According to him, he has received dozens of reports of insects stinging people. In Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, there were reports of the bloodsuckers in large numbers. We are talking about Psallus varians, a species of soft bug a few millimeters in size, which can be found primarily on beech and oak. The tiny animals usually suck on tree pollen there or button up aphids. "It rarely happens that they make mistakes and sting people," said Dorow.

Inflamed wounds follow painful stings
However, during the freaky weather of the past few days, the animals apparently show atypical behavior with sultry and heavy rain. On social networks, eyewitnesses report swarming appearances and inflamed stab wounds. "These are certainly allergic reactions. Usually the very painful bite of such bugs does not even result in reddening of the skin, as is common with mosquitoes, ”says Dorow. It is a phenomenon that the animals attack people in masses, the specialist told Hit Radio FFM. The bug expert has no explanation for this unusual behavior of the small bloodsuckers.

Few species of bugs suck human blood
However, this type of soft bug is not known to be a disease carrier. In contrast to other species such as certain predatory bugs that spread dangerous Chagas disease. As it says in the dpa report, Psallus varians, one of 26 species of the genus Psallus known in Germany, reproduces rapidly in May and June. In midsummer and late summer, however, only a few animals can be observed. According to Dorow, a total of 891 species of bugs are known in Germany, of which only five suck blood on humans, birds or bats. (ad)

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