Bed bugs have been terrible pests since time immemorial. They’ve been hiding in homes, on clothes, and in the floorboards waiting to chew on our bodies at night for as long as we can remember.
Bed bugs are such a force of nature that it begs us to question their origins: Where do bed bugs come from? How did we first come in contact with them? Why are they still a problem?
In this article, we’ll go over everything about bed bugs, from where they come from to how to prevent them from getting into your home.
Origins of Bed Bugs
If you’ve ever dealt with bed bugs, you know just how annoying they can be. In a stress-filled moment, you’ve probably wondered, “Where do bed bugs come from, anyway?”
Most experts agree that bed bugs seem to have been first encountered by bats in the Middle East. They spread from there to bite Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Before long, bed bugs were all over Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Caste or social standing didn’t matter, as bed bugs would chew on the poor and wealthy alike. As the Americas were settled, bed bugs traveled overseas to make a new home.
Today, bed bugs can be found on every continent except Antarctica, where the climate is too cold for bed bugs to survive.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Around?
It’s a popular misconception that bed bugs are attracted to dirty, unkempt spaces. What they’re really attracted to is your blood. They rely on hiding, sneaking, and traveling to get to your blood. The truth is that bed bugs are hitchhikers.
It’s natural for bed bugs to want to hide during the day or when bright light is present, so they’ll look for anywhere to stay hidden away from the light. Their hiding places include cracks in the floorboards, inside briefcases, in dressers, in the seams of beds, and in clothing. Any textile or plush surface will work well for them.
Because bed bugs can cling to personal belongings or clothing, you might end up carrying bed bugs around unknowingly.
There’s nothing you can do that will particularly attract bed bugs. Instead, you can simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If a single bed bug manages to ride your socks all of the way home, it’s only a matter of time until it becomes a much larger problem.
Once a single bed bug finds its way into your home, it will immediately nest and attempt to breed. A female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs. Within a month, the nymphs will mature and start looking for blood meals (aka, you).
After an infestation, it’s no longer a question of “Where do bed bugs come from?” and more a question of “How do I get rid of these bed bugs?”
How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations
The best way to deal with bed bugs is to never let the problem start to begin with. When traveling, bring sets of clothes separated by airtight plastic bags. Bed bugs can be found in high-traffic areas like hotels, hostels, gyms, and public transport. When getting home, wash all of the clothes you traveled with as soon as you can.
Make sure to regularly vacuum under the bed and furniture and treat those areas with a suitable heat source like a steam cleaner. Then, invest in bed bug-resistant bed frames and mattresses, just in case they manage to find their way in.
Bed frames with heavy-duty metal framing that’s welded on all sides are difficult for bed bugs to climb and provide no place for bed bugs to hide. With a foam mattress, you can rely on its hypoallergenic and cooling properties to help ward away bed bugs.
Finally, make sure to wrap your mattress in a zippered moisture-proof and bed bug-resistant cover to shield your bed from bed bugs for good.
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