Letting a swarm of hungry bed bugs feed on your arm sounds squirm-inducingly unpleasant, but this entomologist decided to have a little fun with it. He gave himself a temporary tattoo while giving his bed bugs a nice big meal.
It's making us itch just thinking about it, but when his lab had a jar of bed bugs in need of feeding, entomologist and YouTube user JohnnyFedora decided to show what happens to his skin when it's exposed to 1,000 bed bugs. He placed a stencil of a rabbit over the mouth of the jar and let the critters go to work.
Here's his arm roughly two hours after the feeding:
Here it is after 24 hours:
And here it is 48 hours after feeding:
Here he points out that the blisters are atypical in a normal bed bug encounter. If you receive a single bed bug bite, you're unlikely to see blistering. (In fact, he notes, a high percentage of the population doesn't have any visible reaction to individual bed bug bites.) However, letting hundreds of them suck your blood? That can result in some pus-filled bumps.
Here we are after 72 hours:
Two weeks later, you can just barely make out the bunny ears and the crescent:
So in the end, the bed bug tattoo lasted just a few days—and fortunately, so did the itching. Unless you have a jar of bed bugs in desperate need of feeding, it's probably best to go the non-insect route with your skin adornments.