Bed Bug History & Origin

Well, if you want to take it from the beginning and want to know about the bed bug history, it is said that bed bugs originated in the Middle East, in caves that were inhabited by humans, as well as bats. From there on, they had a strong presence in ancient Rome.They are very ancient bugs and have been living off various hosts since the beginning of time. Studies have revealed that they would first feed off the bats before moving towards humans. If safe to say that these insects inhabited the same caves were civilization originated.

bed bug history origin

With the growth of civilization their numbers multiplied. Fossils from these bugs have even been found, dating back 3500 years. Back then these bugs were used to make potions to cure common ailments. Egyptians even drank them to cure snakebites.They thrived during the formation of villages, and cities. And with the growing civilization, the bugs multiplied and spread through Asia and Europe. By the 100 A.D., they had a strong presence in Italy, in 600 A.D. in China, in the 1200s in Germany and in 1400 in France. The heat that was generated from cooking and sleeping fires, made the bugs take comfort in the life of the wealthiest families living in castles and in the less fortunate who resided in huts.

The first time the British reported the bed bugs, was in 1583, a little after that they arrived in the Americas alongside the colonizers.The early colonizers brought the bugs with them to the Americas as early as the 1700s. During the early years of the 18th century, colonial documents reported a severe problem with bed bugs in Canada and the English colonies. In the 1800s they were abundant in the North American region.The settlers attempted to avert these pesky critters with beds made of the wood from the sassafras tree dousing it with boiling water, sulfur, and arsenic. However, the Indian villages had no problems with them.

It is also noted by historians that many of the much older sailing vessels were invaded by these bugs. As many sailors would complain about bugs feeding off of them during sleep time. It was forbidden to all colonists and passengers traveling on these vessels from bringing any bedding during the board ships.Germany mentioned the bed bugs in the 11th Century, and in France, they were first mentioned in the 13th century.

In the 18th century, Italian physician and naturalist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli made note of their presence in Carniola, which nowadays is known as Slovenia.Other great accommodations for these bugs were Railroads, Hotels, and Ships.Over the years, many formulas were “invented” to deal with an infestation many which will get you incarcerated today.

By the middle of the 1800s, the plagued did not recognize from the poor or the rich. In the case of the poor who lived in overcrowded areas with low cleanliness standards. While the wealthier households with an excess of domestic help discovered that vigorous cleaning help to eliminate them.The good thing about this is that it helps to detect the infestation during their vulnerable initial stages. The greatest remedy is an extensive, thoroughly and continuous cleaning, examining all the joints ensuring there are no more residing in the dark places.

During the early years of the 20th century, most Americans had seen one and most had been bitten, making them at that time one of the worst pests concerning structures.Surveys during those years proven that at least 1/3 of all residents in some major cities were infested. While in the lower income areas all the residents were infected, making them the number one public enemy.Surprisingly enough all of a sudden they were gone, at least from the countries considered to be “Developed”. During the 1950s American entomologist had a major problem trying to find a live sample for their laboratory work.


Bed bug historyThe reason for this was the introduction of DDT to exterminate cockroaches and other bugs dramatically decreasing their population.There are many types of bed bugs found. The most common one found in the household is the Cimex Lectularius and is also found all over the World. These bugs have the particularity to adapt very well to all human environments or surroundings and would typically live in temperate climates. There are a number of other pests related or resembling our pesky friends, the bed bugs, mostly in their habits and in the way they look. In order to make a positive identification, it will require magnification and a high level of experience identifying all the different species.

The tropical bed bug is also known as Cimex Hemipterus, it also feeds on humans, but prefer tropical environments, like Florida or the Caribbean.Bat bugs, also known as Cimex Adjunctus have also been found in tropical regions, but they are also present in temperate areas. The particular species feeds primarily from Bats, but they can also feed off of humans, this mostly happens when their preferred source is no longer available.The Mexican chicken bug also known as Haematosiphon inodora, which is mostly located in North America, closely resembles the common bed bug, however, they are found on poultry farms and choose live bird species to feed, and also domestic fowls.

Other species that resemble bed bugs are the barn swallow bugs, however, their primary source of blood is the cliff swallow, and hence, they take permanent residency on their nests. That doesn’t exclude them from feeding off humans, especially during Birds migrations. Accuracy is very important when identifying bed bugs, especially before beginning any kind of treatment for an infestation that is because a wrong control method will be ineffective and can be harmful. You should contact the help of professionals to help identify first and then provide an effective treatment to your infestation.

It is important to note that, the recent infestation was mostly done to the fact that they developed a resistance to DDT and of course the “globalization of the World” has also been an important factor in this recent outbreak. The many types of bed bugs are traveling alongside with us wherever we go. Countries that have rarely experience bed bugs presence are now being victims of an uncontrollable infestation that affects them.Hotels, which are the main recipients of bed bugs from all over the World, with the exception of airports, are facing major problems with this plague.

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