Bed bugs Menaced the Dinosaur Age


Most people hope never to lay eyes on a bedbug. But one team of researchers spent 15 years scouring guano-filled caves, cliff side nests and museum archives for bedbug specimens that might clarify the murky natural history of this globally loathed parasite.

The team’s findings confirmed that bedbugs originated at least 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed Earth. The discovery upends the established timeline of bedbug evolution and could help to anticipate the pest’s next moves in an era of climate change and expansive human activity.

The research team also found that the main varieties of bedbugs linked to humans evolved some 47 million years ago. Because they are tens of millions of years older than humans, their origins must not be linked to the emergence of Homo sapiens, as past studies have suggested. To reconstruct the complex evolutionary story of bedbugs — a family of insects known as Cimicidae — the team analyzed the DNA of 34 species, sourced from 62 locations.

In addition to requesting specimens from hundreds of researchers, the study’s authors personally collected bedbugs around the world. The team braved knee-deep piles of bat feces in Texas, donning masks when carbon dioxide concentrations became too high. In one Kenyan cave, they took care to avoid contamination from the deadly Marburg virus, which can be transmitted to humans from fruit bats.

“The caves are always a bit of an adventure,” said Klaus Reinhardt, a bedbug expert at Dresden University in Germany and one of the leaders of the study.
Insights about bedbugs emerged from other surprising sources, such as Hopi folklore. “They have quite a strong cultural heritage relating to bedbugs,” especially with one species that infests eagles and other birds, said Dr. Reinhardt. “The Hopi must have had a lot of contact with this bug, otherwise they wouldn’t have several stories about it.”

The team’s efforts, which began in 2002, have culminated in a sprawling Cimicidae family tree with roots deep in the Cretaceous period. Their data corroborate fossil evidence of a bedbug ancestor, Quasicimex eilapinastes, preserved in 100-million-year-old amber, which was first identified by Michael Engel, a University of Kansas entomologist, in 2008.

“The fossil was the first direct evidence that the family Cimicidae predated the origin of bats,” said Dr. Engel, who was not involved in the new study. Bats were long presumed to have been the first hosts for bedbugs. It’s now clear that the parasites were sustained through the age of dinosaurs by more ancient animals. But the identity of the earlier host, or hosts, remains a tantalizing mystery, as fossil evidence is scarce, Dr. Reinhardt said.

Beyond this glimpse into the distant past of bedbugs, the team outlined how the pests seized on parasitic opportunities that eventually landed them in our beds. Whereas most bedbugs specialize on one host species, the lineages linked to humans are generalists that seek new hosts while maintaining the ability to switch back to old favorites. As plagued as humans are by bedbugs, we are a side gig for them. That fact could prove useful in forecasting which creatures may be next to colonize our homes, beds and bodies.

“To make a prediction about the next species that hops onto humans, we would have to look into species that were originally specialists, but then started to expand their host portfolio,” said Dr. Reinhardt. Such predictions could help prevent or contain new bedbug outbreaks in an era of climate change and increased international mobility.

Wild animals are migrating beyond their ranges in response to rising global temperatures, while domestic animals are traded and shipped to new locations and ecosystems. If these animals carry other bedbug species, the pests “will suddenly meet animals they have never seen before,” Dr. Reinhardt said. So, sleep tight, and accept that bedbugs will continue to bite. They’ve been sucking blood since T. rex and triceratops roamed the planet, and they won’t give up the habit anytime soon.

By Becky Ferreira


Bio-Pesticides for Bedbugs


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a bio-pesticide as ‘a type of pesticide derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.’ Meaning that it consists of a microorganism (e.g., a bacterium, fungus, virus or protozoan) as the active ingredient. Microbial pesticides can control many different kinds of pests, although each separate active ingredient is relatively specific for its target pest(s). For example, there are fungi that control certain weeds, and other fungi that kill specific insects, and is highly effective against bed bugs.


Bio-pesticides are usually inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides. Bio-pesticides generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms, in contrast to broad spectrum, conventional pesticides that may affect organisms as different as birds, insects, and mammals. Bio-pesticides can be effective in very small quantities and often decompose quickly, thereby resulting in lower exposures and largely avoiding the toxicity problems caused by conventional pesticides. When used as a component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, bio-pesticides can greatly decrease the use of conventional pesticides. However, users need to know a great deal about managing pests.


The EPA always conducts rigorous reviews to ensure that bio-pesticides will not have adverse effects on human health or the environment. For EPA to be sure that a bio-pesticide is safe, the Agency requires that registrants submit a variety of data about the composition, toxicity, efficacy, degradation, and other characteristics of the pesticide.  Any product not registered with the EPA has not been evaluated for safety and efficacy.

THE NPMA GUIDELINES – Response to Bed bugs in offices.


Bed bugs in offices are a growing problem. An office is a much different habitat for a bed bug than in a bedroom where human hosts are available, inactive, asleep, and in the dark. Unlike residential settings, bed bugs in offices tend to wander around randomly looking for hosts.  So bed bug numbers tend to be low, populations grow slowly by periodic re-introductions (not breeding), and the bed bugs generally become widespread before office workers realize there is a bed bug problem. At this point, bed bugs are often very hard to find and difficult to control. These guidelines will help office managers recognize and deal with bed bug outbreaks and minimize future bed bug problems.

What to Avoid

  • Do not try to hide information about the bed bug problem from employees.
  • Do not “blame” or stigmatize workers whom you suspect have brought in the bed bugs.
  • Do not try for control “on the cheap.” To successfully control bed bugs once they are widespread in an office setting requires intensive monitoring and service over many months.

Be Proactive

  • Develop a written “bed bug action plan” in advance of problems being identified with specific procedures and responsibilities for responding to a bed bug incident.
  • Educate office workers and maintenance staff about:
    • The risk of moving bed bugs from home to office, from office to home, from office to office.
    • Basic bed bug biology and habits.
    • How to recognize bed bugs, their signs, and their bites.
    • The actions they can take to reduce the risk of spreading bed bugs.

Responding to a Bed Bug Incident

  • If someone reports bed bugs, the area should be checked immediately and the bug collected, if possible, for identification by a pest management professional.
  • A pest management professional experienced in bed bug control should be hired (if not already under contract) to confirm that bed bugs are present and to determine if other office locations have bed bugs.
  • Besides work cubicles, common sites for bed bugs include under raised floors, inside room dividers, behind cove moldings, and anywhere workers congregate such as around copy machines, lunch areas, lounges, meeting rooms, etc.
  • If recommended by a pest management professional, consider using a certified bed bug scent detection canine team to determine the extent of the infestation.
  • Disclose the finding of bed bugs to all employees working in the area.
  • The scope and intensity of service as determined by the pest management professional will almost always consist of a cycle of service and inspection over a period of many months.
  • Office bed bug service may include the following:
    • Insecticide applications targeted to certain infested or suspect areas.
    • Steam or spot cold treatment to kill bed bugs in furniture, carpet edges, room dividers, and in cracks and crevices. Vacuuming to eliminate clusters of bed bugs.
    • Heat treatment of rooms or compartment heat treatment of furniture and fixtures.
    • Off-site fumigation for bed bugs in equipment, furniture, fixtures, and specialty items

Bed Bug Prevention

  • Recognize that employees and visitors to office buildings may live in bed bug-infested homes. A permanent inspection and monitoring program for bed bugs is necessary to identify new bed bug introductions before they spread.
  • Monitoring may include regular visual inspections by a pest management professional, the use of detection devices, and/or inspections of the entire area by a certified bed bug scent detection canine team.
  • Whenever a bed bug is found, control actions should be instituted in the immediate area (a minimum of 20 feet diameter), within 24 hours if possible.
  • Office infestations commonly come from workers who live in bed bug-infested homes.
    • To reduce the risk of reintroduction, management may want to provide information and even assistance (such as home inspections) to these workers.
    • Monitoring tools and efforts should always include the work areas of these employees.

For detailed information on bed bugs, control options, guidance on working with professionals, please visit


Why Bother?

In the past 10 years, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States. Their diet consists only of blood. Bed Bugs feed like mosquitoes by extracting blood from their meal source whether it is humans, animals or birds. They are totally incapable of eating food like
other insects or mammals. Ant and roach baits have no impact. Aerosol bombs for fleas or other insects don’t work either other than making the bugs scatter to different areas of the same room or to adjacent rooms. International travel and commerce have facilitated the spread of these insect hitchhikers that have been found on airplanes, ships, trains and buses.

Bed bugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover. Hotels and motels certainly fall into that category along with college dormitories and apartment complexes to just mention a few.
Eradicating bed bugs is more difficult and more costly than dealing with other types of pests. Residents inadvertently bring bed bugs home with them when they go away for vacation and/or business. Moving from one apartment community to another can also help spread the problem. Traditional pest control methods, which emphasize the routine application of pesticides often
ignore the root causes of infestations, allowing bed bug populations to persist.

Effective management and treatment involves the commitment of both the resident and landlord. An Integrated Pest Management Plan promotes the prevention of infestation through education, inspection, and other preventative measures. Consistent information to both landlord and tenant, early detection, and application of treatment to targeted sites, will help prevent spreading the problem, make for happier tenants and a better “bottom line.”


Worst Bed Bug City” is an award that nobody will show up to receive. But while bed bugs are active in all 50 states, some urban areas see more infestations per year than others. Let’s look at the cities that are the unlucky winners for 2019:

#10: Phoenix, AZ, #9 Atlanta, GA, #8 Washington, DC, #7 Baltimore, MD, #6 New York, NY, #5 Cincinnati, OH, #4 Detroit, MI, #3 Chicago, IL, #2 Philadelphia, PA , #1 Columbus, OH

Columbus has retaken the rank of one of the worst bed bug cities in America. But with less population, less travel, and colder winters than many other cities on the list, how does Columbus keep coming up as number 1?

Like with other cities, the popularity of Columbus is definitely a factor. As one of the fastest-growing cities in North America, Columbus features both a bustling urban populace and a rapidly expanding metro area made up of suburban communities. This means that both urban pedestrians and local commuters face a risk of crossing paths with bed bugs in the city’s many public places.

While not as warm year-round as the southern bed bug cities on this list, Ohio’s capital still has long, hot, and muggy summers thanks to its humid continental climate. The average daily high is over 60 degrees Fahrenheit for more than half of the year, and the cold and dry winter period tends to come on gradually rather than snap in overnight. This works out favorably for bed bugs that have grown accustomed to the same temperatures that humans are comfortable in.

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Do total Release foggers work against Bedbugs?

Research supports the view that total-release foggers lack the ability to penetrate into typical harborages used by many household insects, therefore rendering these products ineffective as control agents.

  Field-collected bed bugs typically were not affected by direct exposure for 2 hours to the fog, hence resistance appears to play a role in the foggers failure to kill bed bugs.

The potential behavioral effect of foggers on bed bugs needs to be evaluated as it may increase the difficulties associated with bed bug control. In fact, an increase of movement and or relocation was detected.

Bed bug Treatment Procedures

The common bedbug is an insect that feeds on human blood. They are often found near sleeping areas in the seams of mattresses, box springs, cracks and crevices in bed frames, and usually spread to gaps behind baseboards, pictures, wallpaper and electrical outlets. They may hitchhike into a home on used furniture, clothing or other items brought from infested areas.

Try not to be alarmed if you find out that you have a bedbug bite. Bedbugs are not known to carry diseases, even though allergic reactions are possible. If you have bedbugs, with help, you can eliminate them for good; but the best thing to do is be vigilant in prevention.

There is no magic bullet to use against bedbugs. Once you have identified a bedbug infestation, you will probably require the help of a professional. In order to prevent the spreading of bedbugs to other areas, do not remove any bedding or other items to another room in an effort to relieve yourself of the problem.

This may very well cause the spread of the problem to another area. Do not share clothing or other items that have been in the room with other people. Until the problem is identified and solved, all precautions should be taken to insure that the problem remains isolated so it may be adequately treated and solved.

It normally takes months for a severe infestation to spread to other rooms within the same general area. The probability that it has spread is very minimal. The pest control technicians will be able to evaluate the situation and determine if there is any indication that additional inspection and/or treatment is necessary.

Our treatment plan for the infestation is to perform all treatments with the safety of the resident as the primary concern. We also want to make sure that we have eliminated the problem, but in a safe manner.

  1. Verify that your pest problem is a bedbug infestation. This will probably involve a visual inspection by a pest control technicians.
  2.  Prior to treatment, remove all bedding from mattresses; gather all linens, clothing, etc. from living space. This includes any textile materials that are machine washable – pillows, mattress covers, etc. Wash bedding and any clothing/fabrics that may have come in contact with bedbugs in HOT water, and dry on high for 30 minutes in the dryer. Wash all other linens and fabrics as directed.
  3. After washing, place items in storage bins, boxes or high-density polyethylene garbage bags. Seal as much as possible to prevent bedbugs from entering and hiding in the clean fabrics.
  4. Empty closets in rooms where bugs have been found, or closets in which fabrics, linens, towels, etc. have been stored. The pest control technicians will need access to these spaces.
  5. Unplug electronic devices in rooms being treated. This will make the area more accessible to the pest control technicians.
  6. Vacuum floors and carpets, focusing on the nooks and crannies. Steam clean, if possible, floors, rugs (if not machine washable), couch cushions, etc.
  7. Move objects away from perimeter of rooms. For example, if your sofa or bed is positioned against a wall, pull it away from the wall. The pest control technicians will need access to the perimeter of the rooms where bugs have been found (probably bed rooms, living rooms & studies). Vacuum along the perimeter of the room, if you were unable to before.
  8. Empty wooden bookshelves, desks, dressers, etc., and remove drawers if possible. Bedbugs can and will seek refuge between the boards of wooden furniture. This may include coffee tables, television stands, bed frames, photo frames, and box springs.
  9. While this process is taking place (a few hours), you will need to be out of your room. Once you are permitted back in your room, you may bring in your freshly laundered clothing and bedding and un-bag your other items.

Response to Bed bugs in offices

Places of business are generally not ideal for bed bug infestations to become established because there is little opportunity for the bugs to feed on sleeping or stationary persons.

While reproducing populations of bed bugs may not develop in such places, they may serve as hubs for the accidental transport of bed bugs by workers to their homes and to places they frequent during the day such as restaurants and other businesses.


  • Workers should report potential bed bug sightings; and if possible, collect specimens.
  • Collected specimens should be identified by a qualified pest management professional.
  • When bed bugs have been identified in the building, workers should be notified and informed about how to prevent transporting bed bugs.
  • Workers should not bring or use pesticides at work.
  • A pest management professional should be contacted as soon as possible to inspect areas where bed bugs have been confirmed and render treatment as necessary.
  • Follow-up inspections and treatments should be made until there are no confirmed bed bug sightings for at least two months.
  • Office workers should minimize the number of items brought into and out of the building. If items such as coats, purses, backpacks and brief cases are brought in and out, they should be
    stored off the floor and in tightly sealed bags or plastic bins when not in use.
  • As much as is practical, office clutter should be eliminated. Bed bugs may be prevented from crawling onto desks and desk chairs by installing traps beneath desk and chair legs, or by wrapping carpet tape or duct tape (sticky side out) around the legs.
  • Items brought back-and-forth from office and home should be placed and stored in tight-sealing bags or plastic containers in
    cars and at home.
  • When leaving infested offices, workers should do self inspections for bed bugs.
  • Upon arrival home, clothes can be immediately washed and dried in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes to eliminate all stages of
    bed bugs.

Heat Treatment for Bed bugs

Why Heat?

  1. Heat treatment can be used to treat and control bed bugs in:
  • A whole structure.
  • An apartment unit, a room, or a portion of a room.
  • A compartment containing furniture and possessions.
  1. Heat treatments typically provide more flexibility for use in cluttered environments than traditional pesticide applications.
  2. Research and understand applicable fire codes, and local ordinances regarding the use of portable heaters, fire suppression systems and other heat treatment related concerns.
  3. Only equipment designed and tested for use as an insect control device should be used for whole room bed bug treatments.
  4. Heat equipment should be carefully inspected before use to ensure that it is in proper working order and no foreseeable fire hazards exist.

Thermal–Heat Treatment Methods

Heat kills bed bugs at a core temperature of 120º for 20 minutes!

Types of heat treatments are:

  • Structure Heat Treatment
  • Localized Heat Treatment
  • Steam heat Treatment
  • Containerized or Truck Heat Treatment

Post-Treatment Evaluation

Success in bed bug service is generally declared when no new evidence of bed bugs can be found and verified.

Because of the cryptic nature of bed bugs, it is difficult to be 100% sure that all bed bugs and eggs have been eliminated.

Tech should base their schedule of follow-up inspections on the treatment process they use. Follow-up services may include:

  1. Interviewing occupants and staff to see if there has been any recent activity (bites, new bed bug fecal stains on sheets, visual sightings, etc.).
  2. Inspection of treated rooms and adjacent areas