Bed Bugs: Invading a Home Near You

They’re baaaaaaaack!

“Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” was a popular twilight wish from parents to their kids, and for decades it meant almost nothing. Much like some of the old nursery rhymes, the true origins of the bed bugs biting admonition were lost to time.

Until the late-1990s. That’s when people in California, Australia, and Canada started complaining of finding bite marks on their skin, tiny brown bugs, and those bugs' fecal stains on the edges of their sheets. Bed bugs, all but eradicated in the 1950s had returned.

The ancient Romans dealt with bed bugs, and they spread, along the Roman road, throughout Asia and Europe. Sometime around the 1500s, bed bugs started becoming a problem in the UK. Bed bugs later made their way to the US, burrowed down in soil that was carried onto and off of the colonization ships.

Prior to World War II, bed bugs were a huge problem across the United States. Advancements in personal hygiene and extensive use of DDT led to Cimex lectularius – the fancy Latin name for bed bugs – being isolated solely to remote areas of Africa and Asia.

No one knows why bed bugs suddenly reemerged, although scientists speculate that they might have built up a resistance to the pesticides once used to treat them. Another contributing factor may have been a shift from treating baseboards for roaches and ants to using baited traps.

What is clear now, is that they’re not going away. Bed bugs have popped up in increasingly larger numbers since 2015.

Unwelcome House Guests

Bed bugs don’t fly – and you could be excused for thinking they're mostly lazy – except when they’re biting you. Bed bugs are hitchhikers – they worm their way into your luggage, dirty laundry, and old furniture. Once they find a nice, comfortable place, they bed down and take a nap – for a few days, or anywhere from two to six months.

They can even hop from suitcase to suitcase when stored in a plane’s overhead compartment.

And checking your luggage doesn’t help either. When the temperature drops below 55 degrees, bed bugs can huddle up and hibernate for a few years. Which might be why bed bugs are having an even larger resurgence this year.

In addition to the usual suspect places, bed bugs have also been known to creep into purses, stuffed animals, school buses, and even, believe it or not, fluorescent light bulbs!

And unlike popular belief, the number one place you’ll find bed bugs is not hotels and motels. The highest percentage of bedbug infestations are located in single-family homes and apartment complexes.

In 2011, it was noted that one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel. There’s a better chance of you encountering a bedbug infestation now than not.

Chowing Down

Bed bugs suck your blood out for 2-5 minutes. That may seem like a lot of time, but remember, you’re fast asleep. They’re also hearty eaters for their size. Bed bugs can gulp down seven times their own weight in blood. That’s the same amount of liquid you’d drink if you went outside and poured an entire kiddie pool down your throat. And didn’t spill a drop.

A lot of people don’t even realize they’ve been bitten by a bed bug. Even the worst allergic reaction to a bedbug bite is similar to hives and is treated as such. The best sign to look for is brown streaks on the corners and edges of your bedclothes.

While every state – even Alaska – has bed bugs, they do tend to congregate in larger cities and communities. As of 2021, Orkin reports that the most infested cities include Chicago, Baltimore, DC, Detroit, and Columbus, OH. The Midwest takes the bottom five as well, except for Los Angeles.

Evicting Bed Bugs

Bed Bug infestations are not difficult to treat. It’s just a matter of patience and time.

The first step is to limit the contamination. You’ll want to clear away clutter, and thoroughly wash sheets, stuffed animals, and any potentially infested clothing in the highest possible temperature water.

While the laundry is going, vacuum thoroughly. Then pull out, empty and seal the bag, and discard it into a trash receptacle outside your home. Preferably far outside. You don’t want to bring clean clothes and sheets back in to get infested again if you can help it. And don’t bother with those cans of spray or bug bombs – they don’t really affect bed bugs.

If you have a really big bug problem – especially if you’re in a condo or apartment complex, with shared spaces – you will probably need to call a professional.

More Articles from the Wealth of Geeks Network:

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Courtesy of Pexels.


+ posts

Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for Infuzemag.com and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing articles, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.