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A Brief History of the War Between Humans and Bed Bugs

Last updated 1 year ago

Bed bugs have reemerged in the media recently after decades of relative quiet. Humans have been locked in a vacillating fight against bed bugs for at least 3,500 years. Understanding the history of the war between humans and bed bugs can give you the knowledge and perspective necessary to succeed in your own pest control battle.

Presence in Early History

According to The History Channel, archaeologists have found fossilized bed bugs from Ancient Egypt, dating back as far as 3,550 years ago. Bed bugs have also been nuisance enough to garner mention in the Jewish Talmud and fourth century Greek plays, among other sources. As for the United States, historians believe that colonists brought bed bugs to the Americas in their travels, as large collections of the parasites stowed away on ships. The lack of a documented Native American word for bed bug further supports this theory.

Twentieth Century Eradication

By the mid-1900’s, bed bugs were no longer an international epidemic. After a meteoric rise in the Americas and Europe throughout the 18th, 19th, and into the 20th centuries, advancements in pest control had finally put bed bugs on the run. In the 1920’s, densely populated areas turned to cyanide fumigation. By the 1940’s, cities gave way to DDT as a bed bug cure. Both of these were effective at killing bedbugs, but were also dangerous for people.

Modern Day Resurgence

In the 1980’s, health regulations outlawed DDT and other harmful pesticides. Since then, bed bugs have made a furious comeback, with the worst of their rally having come in the past decade. Bed bug-related pest control orders have tripled since 2000. Much like how they made their way to the New World, the spread of bed bugs has coincided with increased international travel, with hosts bringing them home in luggage and on clothes.

Payne Pest Management has bed bug eradication solutions for residents of Orange County and throughout Southern California. Call us at (877) 365-5629 for help getting rid of bed bugs, termites, roaches, rats, and any other unwanted critters.


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