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History of Bed BugsPosted June 9, 2022

Bed bugs are ancient… and have been plaguing humanity since its earliest days. Before feeding off humans, there’s evidence that bed bugs fed off bats.

However, the latest research indicates that bed bugs are significantly older than bats. According to evidence collected by the University of Sheffield, bed bugs are about 50 million years older than bats. Researchers have found fossilized remains of bed bugs that indicate they’re more than 100 million years old. Bed bugs even coexisted with dinosaurs like the T. Rex.

Where Did Bed Bugs Come from Originally?

It was originally thought that bed bugs began in the Middle East. However, according to researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences – and published in a 2019 edition of the scientific journal Current Biologyfossil evidence of bed bugs has been found in Southeast Asia, South America, Mexico, and Texas that seems to contradict or complicate the Middle Eastern theory.

Whether bed bugs originated in the Middle East or not, their name goes back to ancient Rome. The official name, Cimex lecturlarius, derives from the Latin word for “bug” (Cimex) and “couch or bed” (lecturlarius).

What Did Bed Bugs Live in Before Beds?

Bed bugs used to live in caves, first when they preyed on bats and later when the earliest humans sought shelter in caves. While fabrics and upholstered furniture provide a cozy place for bed bugs to hide, they’ll take refuge in any place they can hide while not feeding.

In modern homes – even though upholstered furniture is commonly infested – bed bugs have also been found in locations like electrical outlets.

When Were the Earliest Bed Bugs Recorded?

In addition to being named by the Romans, bed bugs can be found in Ancient Egyptian literature and were found in a variety of writings from the ancient world.

Roman philosopher Pliny wrote about bed bugs in 77 A.D., suggesting that they could be used to treat illnesses like ear infections. Before that, bed bugs were named in the Hebrew Talmud and writings by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes.

Greeks and Romans also burned bed bugs to force leeches to stop feeding and let go when leeches were used to treat sickness. Egyptians even drank bed bugs in potions they believed could cure snake bites!

What Did Bed Bugs Evolve From?

Bed bugs evolved from another parasitic insect, but – as of this writing – it’s unclear which one. Prior theories were linked to the belief that bed bugs were roughly the same age as bats. The University of Sheffield research, however, indicates that bed bugs are more than 50 million years older than bats. So, researchers are still looking for the ancestor of the bed bug we know.

How Did Ancient People Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eradicate… which begs the question, how did ancient people get rid of bed bugs? In truth, not very well.

Ancient people realized that certain plants tended to deter insects, so they’d use blends or ointments made of herbs like mint and lavender to deter them. Turpentine was another treatment, as was diatomaceous dirt. The latter was used to get into the bed bug’s exoskeleton and dry it out. Smoke was also used to get rid of bugs of all kinds; but mites, lice, bed bugs, etc., were fairly common pests our ancestors had to endure.

Fox Pest Control Banishes Bed Bugs For Good

Bed bug infestations are difficult to treat without professional help. If you have been exposed to bed bugs, talk to the experts at Fox Pest Control about confirming the exposure and how to treat it. Don’t let bed bugs ruin your rest, Contact us today.

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