The University of Tulsa, US, the origin of bed bugs is the mammal, bat. This has been studied and published in the Molecular Ecology Journal providing some evidence of its history.
They have been associated with humans for a long time dating to as far as during the ancient Egypt that quantifies its years of existence as 3,500.
Unfortunately, this study shows that there is no genetic flow of human or bat genome in the bat meaning that this could only be possible when man and bats shared a cave dating to more than 3500 years ago.
In Greek literature, Aristotle mentions that bed bugs were used medicinally in the treatment of snake bites and infections of the ear. This is about 400 BC.
Each country has its own history regarding the origin of bed bugs as when they were first seen.
For instance, in Germany, the first mention was in the 11th century while in England, the 16th century.
England blames the timber imported into London from other areas in England after the Great Fire of London in 1666 (Johann Friedrich Wolff et al. (1804).
Nowadays, bed bugs are everywhere. While it must have shown some subtleness in the US before the 1980s, increased resistance to insecticides and globalization has since led to its reoccurrence.
There has been a whopping 71 % increase in bed bug infestation between the year 2000 and 2005 according to the US National Pest Management Association.
Bed bugs are globally spreading from one state to another and therefore, its history is slowly diminishing as pointing its origin to a particular line of history is difficult.
Table of Contents
Bed Bug Causes-How do you get them?
For starters, strike off ‘lack of hygiene’ if you think that this could be how you get bed bugs.
Though you cannot completely rule out its connection, indirectly, however, there are very tidy and hygienic places that have lots of bed bugs.
There are many ways through which you can get bed bugs and most of these involve you going to a place that has them.
You could be going to visit a friend, attending a summer camp, living in hostels in an institution, lodging in a motel during a road trip or purchasing clothing or old furniture that have bed bugs.
You will get bed bugs when you:
- Are seated next to someone who has bed bugs for a long time
- Travel in a bus or vehicle with bed bugs
- Lodge in a motel or hotel with bed bugs
- Make purchases from yard sales from homes with bed bugs
- Go to a movie theatre and happen to sit on a bed bug-infested seat.
- Share clothing with someone who has bed bugs
How do Bed Bugs Start?
A bed bug infestation is a scenario Whereby these little creatures overrun your place or home in large numbers hence becoming unpleasant, threatening or harmful.
Identifying of an infestation comprises both finding bed bugs and the incidences of well-matched signs and symptoms.
The earlier you will you carry out diagnosis the better. It is recommended that you treat bed bugs before they establish a colony and start spreading.
Minor infestations, though challenging and bothersome, are easier and cheap to handle and best solution in the long run.
How they start
After mating, infestations start. By the end of a period of about 3 months, you may be housing thousands of bed bugs. The female bed bug is able to lay about 100 eggs in its life time.
They most interesting thing about traumatic insemination is that in as much as the female has a reproductive tract, the male chooses to pierce the abdomen of the female then ejaculate into the hemocoel or its abdominal cavity.
According to Margie Pfiester et al (2009), the males are the ones that excrete a pheromone into the air that ends up attracting females.
This happens when in the aggregate, few females exist or are available for reproduction.
Females are infrequently in aggregates as do males. In order to reproduce optimally, the females will require a blood meal which they will get from you when you are asleep.
Moreover, for the nymphs to move from one instar to another, they will require to feed on you too.
Before reproduction in your house, bed bugs need to be ferried. This happens when you visit a place with an infestation and you happen to carry them in your luggage or clothing.
When you do not subject your items to some critical investigation and treatment, then the bed bugs settle in your box springs, bedding and headboards of beds, ceiling and closets and end up in other room including the living room.
When they are in good numbers, then you will even find them overpopulated in the mentioned areas and hence find them behind wallpapers, crawling on walls in broad daylight and behind switches.
How long does it take for bed bugs to appear?
How long it takes for bed bugs to appear ahead of an infestation in your house is dependent on a number of factors such as:
- Has the female a male partner and have they mated?
- Are there optimal conditions inclusive of optimal temperatures for growth and development?
- Does your house provide good hiding spots for breeding and retreats?
- Have you instituted any measures against the bed bugs?
However, in an ideal scenario where a single female bed bug is able to lay close to 100 eggs lowest, it would take about a month to have the bed bugs appear in infestation numbers.
By the end of the first month it is purported that you will have nearly 70 bed bugs.
What do Bed Bugs Eat? Do they feed every night?
Bed bugs feed on blood. They feed on you during the night when you are asleep. Well, this does not mean that they have a blood meal each and every day.
Their frequency of feeding is determined by the stage of growth and therefore, they end up starving for quite a good number of times in their life.
One thing that you need to note is that they do not feed on blood that has been spilt. They prefer going for the real deal.
Bed bugs feed during the instars which are periods during the molting stages. Molting refers to the shedding of the exoskeleton, the outer layer of their skin. This makes them grow and develop into the next stage.
Bed bugs are known to molt about 5 times and therefore would have about 4 instars before adulthood.
When they are adults, the females are required to feed before reproduction while in normal circumstances, the adults feed about once every week.
Further reading: How Long do Bed Bugs Live Without Food & Host
Can you feel bed bugs crawl on you?
When you are awake, you can feel bed bugs crawl on you especially when they do so inside your clothes.
You might feel them in your pair of trousers and shirts or blouses due to a direct contact with the skin. However, when they move on your clothes, you can’t feel them.
In the night, you are half-dead and it is almost guaranteed that you will not feel the bed bugs and the only evidence you will have is when you wake up with their bites.
This may not apply to everyone as some people are really sensitive to even the slightest movements on their skin.
Areas of the body where there might be limited sensory stimulation such as the hair almost warrants the bed bugs a good escape.
Is it possible to have one bed bug?
It is possible to have a number or one bed bug depending on where you collect it or them. When you are from a room infested with bed bugs, chances are high that you may collect a good number in our luggage and apparel.
However, if you had taken keen not to instigate some protective measures against ferrying bed bugs, you might have one lucky immigrant on you.
Do Bed Bugs come out in light during the day or at night only?
Bed bugs are known to be nocturnal creatures but this does not mean that they sleep during the day.
They simply hide in the cracks and crevices among other places where they cannot be easily seen.
They also move during the day and you might find them crawling on the floor, your bedding and the walls. You will moreover notice that very few of them are seen during the day.
There have been observations indicating that when the room is dark, then bed bugs do crawl and move around in larger number relative to a well lit room.
At night, bed bugs move towards a stimulus, carbon IV oxide you exhale and its build-up in your bed sheet or blanket attracts them.
Can bed bugs get in your ear, nose and private parts
No they don’t get into your ear, nose and private parts. What they really need from you is not shelter to house them like other parasites such as fleas but to get a blood meal.
That is all they are concerned about. Therefore, the areas they will dominate on your body should be able to confer them with an adequate blood meal with the most ease.
The private parts may not provide such an adequate blood meal owing to the pubic hair. So will the ear and nose which have wax and rather non-superficial vasculature. Seems like they really understand their sources well.
Do bed bug smell?
Odor, a characteristic one to bed bugs can be used as a clue to an infestation. When they are squashed, you will notice that there is a pungent smell produced.
This has been implicated in defense, serving as a warning to other bed bugs of an imminent danger. They basically could act as pheromones.
What will happen if you smoke bed bugs
This has been the fad among kids and the internet resulting from a video showing kids smoking bed bugs in order to get the ‘new’ high.
However, despite the fact that bed bugs contain a hallucinogenic compound, PH-417 in them, the potency is not adequate to cause a significant hallucination or high.
To add, it is almost impossible to have the chemical elucidated from other compounds in the bed bug.
It is true that the information that is currently available is not enough to eradicate bed bugs or even bring infestation close to a regional elimination.
Control and Management
A bed infestation can give sleepless nights. This is majorly because of their bites which irritating. How dangerous are the bites? Can they make you ill?
While bed bugs are parasites, they have not been fully implicated in the transmission of diseases though research is ongoing regarding their ability to do so in the case of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) which happen to have been found on their bodies.
Below are details on bites
- What do Bed Bug Bites look like? Pictures & Identification Steps
- How Long do Bed Bug Bites Last?
- Do Bed Bug Bites Itch or Hurt? Why, How to Relief…
- Mosquito Bites vs Bed Bug Bites-What’ are the differences
- Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites + Differences & Pictures
- Bed Bug vs Spider Bites- Differences with Pictures
- Bed Bug Rash on Skin
- Can Bed Bugs live on or Bite Dogs & Cats (Pets)?
Getting rid and killing involves chemicals, DIY, natural remedies among other methods.
- Use of Bombs/Foggers and how they work
- Heat treatment
- Use of Steamers
- Fumigation for Bed Bugs-Cost & Preparation
- Use of Bed Bug Sprays
- Use of Interceptor