Do Bed Bugs Of The Past Predict The Future?

Bed bugs have been plaguing mankind since the beginning of recorded history. First there were bat bugs that fed on the bats in caves. When cavemen moved into caves, they too became a tasty treat for these bloodsucking creatures. As cavemen evolved and moved out of the caves and began to set up their own civilizations, the bat bugs hitched a ride into their new dwellings. These “bed bugs” lived, bred, and thrived in their new-found homes and continued to plague mankind for thousands of years.

Ancient Greek writers told of the bed bug problems as early as 400 BC as did Aristotle. The first published book in Rome occurred in 77 AD. It claimed that bed bugs had medicinal value for the treatment of ear infections and snake bites. In the 18th century, it was believed that bed bugs helped to cure hysteria. Bed bugs began to appear in England in 1583 and by 1690, exterminators were hot the trail of bed bugs trying to kill them off.

Just as it is today, bed bugs were masters at hitchhiking from place to place. People in countries that had the pests learned to deal with the bloodsuckers by practicing excellent cleaning rituals to keep the population under control. In addition to cleaning, the task of ridding homes of bed bugs fell upon the lady of the house.

Bed bug infestations were the most despised and the most common household pest in the early part of the 1900’s. People used various techniques to rid their homes of the little vampires such as dousing their beds in kerosene, picking the bed bugs and their eggs off of the mattresses by hand, using candles and torches to burn them on contact, and trying to smoke them out via sulfur fumigation. Many household remedies that were used were toxic, dangerous and at times, deadly.

By the 1930’s and 1940’s, it was estimated that about one third of the dwellings in Europe had bed bugs living amongst their human victims. It was not until DDT became available that there appeared to be a mass destruction of the creatures. Once DDT was pulled from the market, the pests have slowly crept back into households around the world.

Manhattan pest control experts are working hard to get the bed bug population under control so that history does not repeat itself and the current resurgence of bed bugs will end.