The History Of Bed Bugs

by Editor on June 8, 2013


The old saying “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” has been repeated by parents for many generations, and for good reason. Let us take a look at some interesting facts about bed bugs and investigate their history through the years.

  • Archeologists have discovered that bed bugs have been known to have existed for thousands of years, and have even traced the pests as far back as the B.C. years.  Researchers have found fossilized bed bugs in sites in Egypt and other parts of the world.
  • Some experts of entomology believe that the colonists unintentionally harbored bed bugs in the ships in the 17th century as they sailed to America.  Bed bugs sailed across the Atlantic! Some ships were even known to forbid passengers from bringing any bedding on board, in an attempt to prevent an infestation.
  • Throughout history, it has been noted that bed bugs were sometimes admired for their supposed medicinal and healing properties. Some Roman philosophers even believed that bed bugs could heal certain infections and ailments.
  • By the 1950’s, Entomologists were finding it more and more difficult to find traces of bed bugs. This fact has been attributed to the use of DDT, which is an insecticide powder or spray that could be dusted or sprayed around infected areas. However, DDT, which has been banned for many years in countries around the world, resistance appeared within a few years, but bed bug control continued with other strong pesticides.
  • Bed bug exterminators have now been seeing a drastic increase in bed bug infestations again. This resurgence has been major in the United States and has also been documented in other countries around the world.
  • Some reasons for this comeback of the bedbug are documented by bed bug control experts and entomologists as well. For one, we have seen an increase in international world wide travel, which means people unknowingly transport these unwanted guests home with them. In addition, we are also seeing a more transient population in big cities where temporary workers travel from one housing location to another quite often. As a result, they too end up spreading these bugs from home to home.
  • Some other reasons for the return and spread of bed bugs include thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets and antique shops, which have become a very popular way for families to shop. Not only is it “in” to shop at these places, but in recent years the economy has made re-using and recycling household goods very popular and cost effective. This of course always increases the risk of transmission of bed bugs, who can live for months without food and love to hide and “hitchhike” in furniture.
  • One of the most significant factors which has allowed bedbugs to spread across the United States at an alarming rate since the 1990’s is simply the lack of public awareness.  Many people don’t believe or realize that these bugs exist and that anyone can become victim of an infestation. Because these bugs can be very good at staying out of sight, many people don’t give a second thought to bringing home used furniture that could be infested, even if it’s from a family member. Bed bugs are also nocturnal, night feeders, so many people traveling and staying in hotel rooms are unaware that while sleeping, they are becoming not only a meal but also a host for a future infestation.
  • In recent years, people have become more reluctant to use powerful and dangerous insecticides, such as DDT, because they worry about adverse health effects and pesticide effectiveness. As a result, local bed bug exterminators have become the best source of information for attacking and eradicating a bed bug infestations. A bed bug pest control expert will be the best contact to provide a plan of attack and an outline of treatments which will be the most effective for your bed bug problem.

Knowledge and information are power when it comes to combating these pesky pests.

About the Author

Craig is the founder of All Bed Bugs Begone, a Phoenix, AZ bed bug extermination company specializing in heat treatment rather than chemical control. He has over 10 years of bed bug and pest control experience.

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