May 14, 2013
Bed bugs may have evolved when a close relative, the bat bug, switched to feeding off cave-dwelling humans. Bed bugs probably received their common name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. These pests have also been called “red coats,” “mahogany flats,” and “wall-lice.”
Bed bugs have been a household pest issue for more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. They were first brought to the United States by early colonists, where they thrived for many decades.
Then DDT came along. DDT seemed wonderful at the time due to its effectiveness in eliminating pests. Unlike most of the insecticides sold in stores today, DDT had a lasting effect: a long residual effect. Insects died when they crawled where DDT was used, even if it had been there for weeks. Though most homeowners used DDT for large pests like cockroaches, it killed bed bugs too. When the bed bugs came out to feed, the DDT was there to kill them.
Modern furnishings and appliances also helped reduce bed bug populations. Bed bugs donâ€™t care if a home is clean or messy; they just like good hiding spots and food. When modern furniture came into style, bed bugs had fewer hiding spots. Home appliances such as washing machines and vacuums also helped keep them at bay.
By the mid 1970â€™s, insecticides like DDT, which were blamed for environmental problems, were declining in popularity. The pest control industry began to use the environmentally friendly approaches that are common today. Using non-insecticide traps and monitors, blocking entry into homes, and using pest-specific, least-toxic insecticides became the staples of an integrated pest management approach.
Bed bugs were a rarity in America from the early 1950â€™s through the late 1990â€™s. A whole generation of people grew up who had never even seen one before.
Several factors led to the resurgence of bed bugs beginning in the late 1990’s; increased international travel, more targeted pest control products and methods, and a lack of public awareness about pest prevention methods.
These pests cause many problems and infestations can quickly spread. If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops at 865-966-0750 or click here.