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History of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small nocturnal external parasitic insects. They have been around for centuries dating back to the 1700s and have adapted so well to feeding on humans that most aren’t even aware they are being bitten. They hide during the day and generally feed at night when people are sleeping. Adult bed bugs can survive more than a year without feeding and have a lifespan up to 2 years.

Bed bugs were a common problem in the United States until World War II but were almost completely eradicated from the United States with the wide scale use of pesticides, such as DDT and Malathion. They began to re-emerge in the late 1990s in the United States along with Canada, Australia, UK and many other countries. The main reason for this was due to DDT being banned by most countries along with a dramatic increase in international travel and lack of public awareness. Because bed bugs are transferred though infested personal belongings, it is impossible to prevent them from entering facilities. Another reason for the rise in cases is due to evolution. These insects are now resistant to many pesticides. This resistance makes them more difficult to control.


Resurgence of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are back and are now spreading across the United States at a very rapid rate. They are excellent hitchhikers and once they are introduced into an environment they are able to quickly spread from an infested location to new locations that were previously uninfested. All someone needs to do is to spend a night in a bed bug infested environment and there is a good chance that they will take bed bugs with them to their next destination. At night they come out of their secretive hiding place to feed on people as they sleep. Their bite is painless so people are unaware that they have been bitten. Once they have finished taking a blood meal they retreat back to their hiding places where they remain undetected and are not likely to come back out until it is time to feed again. In addition, many people must first become sensitized to the bite before developing any bite symptoms while others never react at all. As a result it is not uncommon for people to have delayed reactions of several weeks or more. Even when symptoms do occur, they are often confused with poison ivy, scabies, allergic reactions etc. All of these factors enable bed bugs to become very well established before the occupants of the infested structure identify the infestation. These bugs are a pest and they may cause itchy spots and discomfort. However, they are not believed to transmit infections or diseases.


More information about bed bugs:

Identifying Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, only about ¼ of an inch in length.  They are flattish and oval-shaped with reddish-brown color. Bed bugs are similar in size to an apple seed or a lady bug…

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Bed Bug Behavior & Issues

Bed bugs are often present for weeks or even months before a single bug is ever seen by the occupants of an infested structure. When bed bugs bite, they insert their long beaks into human skin and suck out the blood. A feeding may take a couple of minutes or as many as ten minutes…

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Avoiding, Detecting & Eliminating Bed Bugs

The most important way to protect yourself is by detecting bed bugs before they colonize and become difficult and costly to eliminate. It is possible to eradicate them especially if detected soon after they have been introduced into the environment…

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Bed Bugs – Q&A

Find answers to common questions about bed bugs…

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