Ever wonder just where bed bugs came from and how long they’ve been a devastating pest to people? Bed bugs are, amazingly, one of the strongest animal species simply because they have accomplished so much during their time on Earth. And judging by their continuous presence it doesn’t look like they will be going anywhere anytime soon, although it’s understandable that we all wish they would go extinct!

Bed Bugs Lived Thousands of Years Ago

If you look at the history of bed bugs you’ll be surprised to learn that they’ve been discovered in ancient writings. This means they have probably been around for as long as humans have been on Earth; maybe even longer.

In the 17th century the bed bug was deemed a pest. These little nuisances traveled with the colonists to America, infesting the luggage and valuables of the vessels and immigrants who were aboard.

DDT First Used to Treat Bed Bugs

Back in the 1940’s and 50’s the product DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was used in the US for eradication of bed bugs. It’s development came in early World War II. The purpose of DDT? To stop the spread of disease being carried and transmitted by unwanted pests; mosquitoes and other bugs.

The military used DDT but so did everyday citizens which lead to the product being used all across the US. Believe it or not, it was also used as an agricultural insecticide. This pesticide seemed to be very effective on bed bugs and during the middle of the 20th century they weren’t a very common bug anymore.

bed bug history


Bed Bugs Are Making a Comeback

While we may have thought these bugs were no longer a nuisance, they have started making their presence more known in recent years and continue to do so; aggressively I might add in some regions of the world. Just in the last 10 years there has been a large increase in the sightings of bed bugs and not just any treatment is doing the trick to eliminate them.

Unfortunately, you can no longer use DDT to treat these pests. This product was banned due to the effects it was having on the environment and the declining benefits it seemed to provide as a pesticide. DDT was taken off the market in 1972 by the EPA and today it’s classified by the international and US authorities as a probable human carcinogen. However, there is a limited exception of its use in regions where mosquitoes are transmitting the disease malaria.

So Why Have They Returned?

Because of the health risks imposed by DDT, many pesticide and insecticide products today are made with lower levels of toxicity so they’re not quite as ‘potent’ and don’t work quite as well as DDT did.

Bed bugs have had centuries to learn to adapt to the many different insecticides created and used to treat them; most ineffectively. If you have ever had a pest issue of any kind you’ve likely experienced a time when the product you used didn’t seem to work in eliminating the bugs. That’s because other pests are becoming resilient to certain pesticides.


Can You Trap Bed Bugs?

We have used bait traps to eliminate a variety of other pests; ants, mice, etc. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for bed bugs. However, glue traps are often used when trying to control a problem and while taking steps to treat them. Bed bugs have blood meals; your blood. So it makes sense that trying to trap them would be null.

How Can I Get Rid of the Bed Bugs?

If you’ve tried product after product and aren’t having any luck eliminating the bed bugs on your property it’s time to call a professional. Industrial-type solutions are typically your best bet for complete relief but keep in mind, there are certain things you’ll need to do on your end to help out, even when you’re receiving treatments. It’s a long and tedious process but relief is possible. Regardless of where you live, find a bed bug exterminator near you by browsing our bed bug directory.