A Quick Historical Look at Bed Bugs
They are creepy, crawly, sneaky, and love to make a meal out of people. Bed bugs are much more common that society likes to believe. Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years, roughly over 3,000 years, and they have been dated back to ancient Egyptian Times. They first occupied caves and fed off of bats, but when humans began to inhabit these caves, they began to take advantage of an entirely new source of food.
Fast forward to England in the 1500s, where bed bug infestations were first recorded and later were transported to the Americas by hitchhiking on ships with European adventurers. As civilization continued to grow and more people continued to travel and explore, bed bugs found more opportunities to hitch a ride and continue to spread.
By the early 20 th century, bed bugs were everywhere, infesting homes, hotels, and other heavily populated places. They had been almost eradicated in developed countries when DDT was first introduced in the 1950s, but by 1972 DDT was banned by the EPA, because research showed that DDT was in fact harmful to human beings and animals.
Why Bed Bugs Are Back
Bed bugs are back in a big way. One big reason is because in the 1990s, international travel began to surge. Bed bugs found ways to get to heavily traveled big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. They began popping up more often in hotels, motels, homes, hospitals, and nursing homes, for example. This resurgence in bed bug population has led to these annoying parasites making their way worldwide, even reaching epidemic numbers in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa.
The Bed Bug Industry
With bed bugs infestations on the rise and grabbing big headlines globally, an entire industry has grown from pest management companies. Some of which use different methods like heating devices and machines specifically designed to kill bed bugs, to specialized bed bug resistant luggage, mattress encasements, and of course the use of some spray pesticides to treat the bed bugs. There are also bed bug advisory boards that have been created and searchable online to find where your city (or the one you may be traveling to) stacks up against other locations.
Because of how incredibly sneaky and stealthy these pests are, bed bug infestations will be a real and relevant problem for many years to come.