History of bed bugs
the history of bed bugs- an introduction
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are very small, reddish-brown parasitic insects that are an all too common household pest and are notoriously difficult to eradicate. They are annoying, virtually flat in appearance and experts at hiding in the small cracks, crevices and dark places of your home waiting to get their next meal. They are wingless hitchhikers that don't jump, don't fly and luckily don't spread disease. And these nasty little arthropods do not discriminate: They do not care how much money you have, how clean your house is, how old you are. They don't care about your race or culture. They generally bite at night, living just a few feet away from their host and multiply exponentially fast. If desperate enough, they might not even care if their host is human or not. They do care about one thing: Sucking your blood. Anyone, anywhere can be affected and it can happen in an instant, without warning. A 2011 study found that one in five (20% of all homes) have an ongoing bed bug infestation that is untreated. If you have them, don't be ashamed, don't think that you are unclean or that you did something wrong. Most importantly, do not panic! Educate and then Eradicate!
These critters could have easily been carried into your home by a friend who visited, from a second hand piece of furniture purchased on Craigslist or at a garage sale, a recent hotel stay or even the waiting room chair at your dentist's office. In Florida, they have recently been found inside the books at the Brandon and Hudson FL Libraries (and many others), in the emergency room at North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey, classrooms at University of South Florida in Tampa and hundreds of Florida hotel and motel rooms spanning the entire spectrum of standards: The premium four star high end hotels as well as those shady no-tell, motels. Bed Bugs are everywhere and when they enter your life, it is critical to take action as soon as possible and end their invasion!
where do bed bugs originate from?
The Bed bug's Latin name, C. lecturlarius, quite literally means "bug of the bed." They originated back thousands of years ago and followed humanity from the cave, to the tent and eventually into the house. They began to multiply and thrive the world over as modern civilization did. They were present in Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, a multitude of ancient Chinese dynasties and were originally used for medicinal purposes like assisting with snake bites and ear infections. Eventually making their way to North America, hitchhiking with Christopher Columbus on the Mayflower and aboard dozens of old sailing ships carrying European settlers and colonists. Over time, the wealthy did maintain an advantage over poorer folks as they had the means to afford cleaning staffs who would regularly discover bed bugs early on and weren't surrounded by mass overcrowding and heavy clutter as lower income areas typically saw. Early discovery and extreme cleaning diligence was and still is a critical aspect of keeping the pests away.
During the early 1900s, the majority of Americans claim to have seen or been bitten by a bed bug and as many as one-in-three homes had an outright infestation. But in 1939, everything changed in Western nations around the globe... a massive breakthrough and borderline cure was found using DDT as an insecticide. A Nobel Prize was even awarded for it's discovery against bed bugs and arthropods generally. Bed bug populations plummeted as people fought back by spraying or dusting it all around the bed and other furniture as well as educating themselves and being diligent. Then, in 1972, DDT was banned in the United States. Turns out it causes cancer, is awful for the environment and endangers wildlife. DDT and widespread bed bug education worked so effectively that even scientists had difficultly finding live bed bugs to study and the problem was considered cured. Thus, it was no longer a public crisis and the pesticide was deemed to be expendable and done away with.
For 40 years we largely lived in peace here in the United States. But of course, all good things must come to an end and the decade of 1990s saw bed bugs roar back with extreme vengeance. Why you say? The general lapse of public awareness (out of sight out of mind) and the explanation of DDT being banned were the conventional answers but other factors are at play as well. The 1980s saw pest control companies switch from treating cockroaches with spray to baiting them but bed bugs do not eat bait. A survey of pest control companies showed tourism and international travel was partly responsible as hotels located near airports, vacation resorts and tourist attractions like Disney World had the first major outbreaks. Although the West saw near-total eradication with DDT, regions such as South America, the Middle East and Africa saw no change in their infestation levels so mass population movements into Western nations also played a role. Human psychological factors such as shame and denial plagued homeowners and thus, many failed to take action upon discovery of bed bugs to avoid the social stigma. Many hotel owners also found it cost prohibitive to replace furniture, carpets and having to keep rooms out of service for lengthy periods of time so the problem was just ignored.... but also spread. And perhaps the most controversial answer to why bed bugs have re-surged: Shockingly high professional treatment costs that prevent many homeowners, hotel and other small business operators from being able to afford treatment even if they knew infestation was present.
In August 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a joint statement on bedbug control. It was hardly an inspiring and optimistic report detailing how their agencies planned to work together to effectively reduce or eliminate bed bug proliferation going forward. It noted, twice mind you, that bedbug research “has been very limited over the past several decades.” It was a simple acknowledgment that a massive problem exists and it is essentially "every man for themselves" to battle looking forward. Unfortunately, affordable, effective, chemical-free pest control has not been available... Until now.... Until Bed Bugs Tampa Bay!