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

by nobugsonme on September 28, 2010

in bed bugs, history

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 gunpowder into the crevices of the affected bedstead. Now ‘fire it with a match, and keep the smoak in.’ Make sure to keep doing that for an hour. Or until you die, whichever comes first.

Are you alive? Good. Are the bedbugs? Rats. Here’s another handy suggestion from the book: ‘boil a handful of Wormwood and white Hellebore in a proper quantity of urine, till half of it is evaporated; and waft the joints of your bedstead with the remainder.’

I know you’ll want to read the rest here.

And, as usual, please do not try this at home.


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