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Where do bed bugs come from?

May 5, 2020

Bed bugs are on the increase, found everywhere from homes and hotels to nursing homes, schools, offices, hospitals and transportation, according to the 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey. Having been thought to have almost been eradicated in the 1950s, bed bug numbers are now rising. But where do bed bugs come from?

History of bed bugs

Bed bugs have been dining on humans for more than 3,500 years, invading ancient civilisations in Egypt, Greece and Rome. They were often thought to have healing powers and were used in potions to cure snake bites and earaches – even Aristotle mentioned them! As humans spread around the globe, bed bugs hitched a ride in ships, on clothing, in luggage to new territories.

Bed bugs in Europe and the USA

By the 7th century, China had reported bed bugs, and by the 13th century Germany and 14th century France were known to be home to the pests. England’s first reported case was in 1583, and as explorers and settlers headed to the New World, bed bugs reached the USA in the 1700s.

Railroads and hotels offered ideal hiding places, with fresh supplies of human blood thanks to transient populations. It wasn’t until the 1950s that bed bugs were effectively eradicated using pest control products and then-new technology such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines allowing more thorough washing of affected linens. 

Bed bugs today

Over the last three decades, bed bugs have been on the increase. This century has seen pesticide-resistant bed bugs identified in the US. Research conducted by New Jersey’s Rutgers University found on average 12.3% of low-income apartments had bed bugs, with 11,000 complaints about the pests received in 2009 in New York City alone. A combination of increased international travel, bed bugs resistance to and the restricted use of some pesticides, and warmer climate all contribute to the rise of bed bugs in cities and towns around the world.

How do I treat bed bugs?

If you’re a commercial business, the best thing to do is notify your pest controller as soon as you suspect an infestation. Detecting bed bugs as early as possible helps make treatment more effective and less costly; that’s where our
Bed Pod system helps, detecting and notifying you and your pest control company of a bed bug’s presence.

If you’re a homeowner or resident, speak to your property manager or call in a pest controller. Some local councils in the UK are able to provide contacts for pest controllers in your area. If you rent, check your tenancy agreement as your landlord may be responsible for arranging treatment. Bed bugs can be tricky to contain and cause a lot of damage if left untreated, so it’s best to use professional pest control services to eradicate bed bugs and monitor your home to catch them early.

Topics: Bed bugs