Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

These pests have been around for a long, long time.

bugFrantisek Dulik/Shutterstock

Bed bugs—just the thought of them makes you itchy, doesn’t it? These tiny critters feed on human blood and love to hide in and around the cracks and corners of our beds. And even though they don’t carry disease, they do cause an itchy red rash.

How long have bed bugs been around?

New research suggests bed bugs first emerged about 100 million years ago, predating dinosaurs like T Rex. The pests survived the asteroid that led to the mass extinction of dinosaurs. Eventually, their favorite meal became bats and humans that inhabited caves in the Middle East. In ancient civilizations, the bugs were sometimes used as a home remedy—the Egyptians used to put them in a snake bite treatment.

Do they exist everywhere?

Bed bugs can be found all over the world, but the worst infestation problems tend to occur in developed countries where people use bed frames and soft bedding. Between 1930 and 1980, they were almost eliminated because the insecticide DDT were used to tackle infestations, but since DDT was banned, there’s been a huge increase. Many are now immune to today’s pest control chemicals. And increased levels of international travel are helping fuel the problem, as bed bugs can travel on clothing and in luggage. These are the 8 signs you’re about to have a bed bug problem.

Where are the worst outbreaks of bed bugs?

The U.S. cities with the the most bed bug infestations that pest control company Orkin had to address in 2018 include Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The states with some of the worst records for infestations are New York, California, and Florida—but bed bugs are found all over the country.

What’s the best way to get rid of them

Bed bugs are very difficult to eradicate, especially the eggs, so it’s important to try to prevent an infestation in the first place. Follow the steps in this detailed guide. But once they’re established, they breed rapidly. An adult will lay around 250 eggs in her life cycle, and those eggs take only six to ten days to hatch.

It is possible to treat your home yourself? Here’s our DIY guide to getting rid of bedbugs. If you’ve tried and still have a problem, professional help will be needed to eliminate them completely. Next, find out the 16 secrets bed bugs don’t want you to know.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth Manneh is an experienced freelance writer, specializing in health and wellness, education and learning, family life, parenting and women's issues. She's been published on Huffington Post and was a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning.