Where Do Bedbugs Come From?


Quick Answer

Bedbugs have likely been with humans for their entire history. Bed bugs often hitch a ride on clothing or in baggage from temporary residences with high occupant turnover, such as hotels and motels. They may also migrate from nearby units in shared housing, such as apartments.

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Full Answer

Bedbugs may have originally inhabited caves with the earliest humans and followed along with them as they built more complex shelters. The first written record of them is in ancient Greece circa 400 B.C. A longstanding folk belief in their usefulness for medical purposes may have contributed to their spread.

Bedbugs are very small and difficult to detect, hiding in deep crevices near human residences when it is light and looking for food when it is dark. A visit to an infested hotel or motel can lead to several hiding in baggage or clothing and not being detected until they have been transported home. As the females lay 10 to 50 eggs at a time, infestation does not take long. They tend to stay where there is a known source of food but may strike out to nearby residential units if the food source becomes unavailable for a length of time or if a very large population is taking up all the available hiding spaces.

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