How did bed bugs get here? Did they never leave? Recent research on genetics and inbreeding

December 16, 2011

A new article by Katherine Harmon in Scientific American explores genetic research into bed bugs, which may be used to explain how they spread and thrive. North Carolina State Entomologist Dr. Coby Schal and other researchers (including Drs. Warren Booth and Ed Vargo of NCSU and Changlu Wang of Rutgers) have been collecting samples from […]

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History of bed bugs expanded upon in new article by Michael Potter

March 17, 2011

You’re familiar with the 2008 PCT article “Lessons from the Past,” in which Dr. Michael F. Potter explores the history of the bed bug problem, and human attempts to fight the beasts. Now, American Entomologist has published a new article in which Dr. Potter builds and expands on that foundation: “The History of Bed Bug […]

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Bed bugs in the London Review of Books & Sunday Times Magazine

December 22, 2010

Hugh Pennington takes bed bugs as his subject in the January 6, 2011 edition of the London Review of Books. I was glad to see the story published, and it is interesting on some levels, but falls short on others. My main concern here is that Pennington reiterates several times that bed bugs “have only […]

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How to get rid of bed bugs (c. 1777): gunpowder and Guinea-pepper, anyone?

September 28, 2010

On the eve of the Toronto bed bug summit, The Star takes a trip down memory lane, examining eighteenth-century bed bug killing methods, which were often more dangerous for humans than bed bugs: A 1777 English tract titled The Complete Vermin-Killer, for example, contains several prescriptions for killing bedbugs. First on the list: Beat some […]

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Lou Sorkin in Gelf; how do you spell “bed bugs”?

May 18, 2010

Gelf Magazine has a new interview with Dr. Louis Sorkin, who they’ve dubbed “The Bedbug King of New York.”  (We would hardly disagree, though we lean toward the more common spelling “bed bug,” which entomologists tell us has a scientific basis.  More on that below.) Here’s a snippet of the new Gelf piece, to whet […]

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Protect your children! Creepy DDT-infused wallpaper circa 1947

January 25, 2010

This is a delightfully creepy find: Trimz DDT Children’s Room Wallpaper and Ceiling Paper. Yes, Disney-themed DDT-impregnated wallpaper, advertised in Woman’s Day magazine back in 1947. Remember, it’s “Certified to be absolutely safe for home use.” (Remember this next time you see such a statement being made!) And no, I do not think this is […]

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Maud Newton on John Cheever’s bed bugs

April 1, 2009

Blogger Maud Newton notes that writer John Cheever was no stranger to Sneaky Simes, the bed bug. She directs our attention to this biography of Cheever, and notes that At the end of 1939, Cheever returned from a summer job to the “‘grey light of New York apartments.’” Soon he was living on Bank Street […]

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Bed bug killer

March 26, 2009

Bed bug Originally uploaded by Francesca Tronchin

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Bed bugs as big business: 1939 Post Office London Directory

January 9, 2009

This morning, a bit of history: the Post Office London Directory in two volumes, 1939, discovered at the New York Public Library. (Sorry for the graininess but let’s just say this was an accidental find — the camera phone was the only option.) Note the advertisement around the edges: We Destroy Rats, Mice, Beetles, Moths, […]

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On getting better pesticides for killing bed bugs (no, DDT is not one of them)

January 7, 2009

I was poking around some historical items, for reasons which will soon become revealed to you, dear readers, when I found an interesting document from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation which outlines the history of DDT in Canada, the US (the three countries represented on the CEC) until 1997.  Click here to load a PDF […]

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Highlands bed bug and (no) breakfast: not so romantic

September 18, 2008

The Highland News reports a Scottish couple had a nasty bed bug encounter at an Inverness Bed and Breakfast: James and Natasha Hinchley were woken by the beasties sucking their blood. Mr Hinchley said: “It was like something out of a horror movie.” The couple, who live in Glencoe, had come to the Highland capital […]

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Bed Bug History, DDT, and implications for the future

August 25, 2008

PCTOnline has a new article out in which Dr. Michael Potter explores bed bug history, and relates past bed bug stories to today’s situation. The article is enlightening in that it describes how our ancestors, recent and long-past, dealt with bed bugs. Before they came under control (with the widespread use of DDT) in the […]

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