The Los Angeles Times: great bed bugs of history?

by nobugsonme on March 3, 2008

in bed bugs, history

The LA Times wants everyone to know how long bed bugs have been sharing living space with humans:

Hard evidence for a long human association turned up fairly recently, when British archaeologists excavating an ancient Egyptian village found the oldest bedbug on record: The fossilized fellow dated back about 3,500 years, to before the time of King Tut.

Bedbugs first turned up in print in ancient Greece and Rome. The Roman philosopher Pliny described the bugs in a book on natural history; Greek playwright Aristophanes wrote the pests into several plays.

Greek doctor Dioscorides found more practical uses for the critters. To heal a wound, he suggested mixing crushed bedbugs with tortoise blood. Whether or not such cures worked, they stuck around. More than 1,000 years later, some Chinese medical practitioners advised mixing crushed bedbugs with rice or lime and sesame oil to treat injuries.

This story doesn’t go much beyond mentioning how long people suffered from bed bugs before DDT was invented.

And then mentioning how we’re suffering again.

The bugs have surfaced in a new world in which they’ve spawned panic — and lawsuits. Parents have sued camps and schools, tenants have sued landlords, guests have sued hoteliers.

But there’s one group that hasn’t been complaining: exterminators, who, to an extent, owe their livelihood to the critters in the first place.

And that’s how it ends. That’s it.

Good luck, everyone!

Seriously, nothing really new here–we knew the ancients were getting their blood dined on nightly.

Actually, to their credit, many pest control industry folks don’t seem to be thrilled by the resurgence of bed bugs.

Many companies don’t want to deal with them (having plenty of other nasty creatures to deal with which are easily treated, and for which they can actually comfortably give warranties).


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