Blood sucking arthropods (e.g. lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks) significantly affect human health. Infestations with head lice are a worldwide hygiene problem. Since the late 1990s, the numbers of bed bug infestations in public buildings and private homes are dramatically increasing. Due to the fact that these parasites develop resistance against insecticides, the need of new active substances and products for their control is evident. Furthermore, the demand for efficacy testing increases, for the development of new products and active ingredients as well as for regulatory purposes (e. g. proof of efficacy for authorization of biocidal products according to the Biocidal Product Regulation, BPR Regulation EU 528/2012). It is important and necessary to have efficient products for control of blood sucking arthropods available, but efficacy testing of these products before introduction to the market is highly dependent on laboratory breeding of these parasites. However, the feeding of blood sucking arthropods on a vertebrate host (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs) is an animal experiment according to the Animal Protection Act and has to be approved by the competent authorities. A feeding technique for bed bugs and body lice without conducting animal experiments would enable laboratories to perform important basic and applied research with these organisms.
The objective of this project is the development and establishment of a feeding technique for large-scale breeding of bed bugs and body lice without the use of vertebrate hosts.