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NDSU doctoral student publishes research on damsel bug bites

Eduardo Faundez, an NDSU doctoral student majoring in entomology, recently had a paper published in the prestigious Journal of Medical Entomology. The paper, titled "A Case of Biting Humans by Nabis americoferus (Heteroptera: Nabidae), With Comments on Bites by Other Species of the Genus Nabis in the United States," reviews the first-known case of a person in Fargo, North Dakota, being bitten by a damsel bug.

The paper, which was published Oct. 16, also gives an overview of other bite cases across the country.

According to Faundez, damsel bugs are a family of small predatory insects. "They eat other insects; so they are considered beneficial on pest management. However, a little known aspect of these bugs is that in certain occasions they may bite humans," Faundez said. "These are called adventitious bites, and these bites are believed to be for two reasons: defense or obtaining water."

Faundez said the research shows that four species of damsel bugs have bitten people in the U.S. "Most of the cases have considerable pinprick-like pain and an erythema, or red mark, appears that can last for a few days," he said. "These bites are not really dangerous, but can be very nasty. Another side comment is that when we are bitten by a bug, it is not always a mosquito."

The Journal of Medical Entomology is published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.

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