History of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs

Imagine you’re on a family vacation or a trip with your friends at a beautiful beachside resort. You’ve had a great night enjoying the views and the company and when you get back to your room you get cozy in your ned and fall straight to sleep. When you wake up, you are covered in tiny red, itchy bumps all over your body. Did you have an allergic reaction? Did you eat something bad? Nope, you have a bad case of bed bugs. Where do these tiny bugs come from and how long have they been around?

Bed Bugs in Ancient History

For as far back as you can read about, bed bugs have been terrorizing families with their vicious, blood-sucking bite. It is thought to be true that bed bugs first started out by infecting bats and then while humans were sleeping in the same caves as bats, they moved on to terrorizing humans as well. In the early years, bed bugs were used to cure other diseases or frustrations. For example, it was a theory that bed bugs would cause a leech to loosen its hold on a human. Some people even mixed bed bugs with their wine and believed they would cure malaria.
The first recorded case of bed bugs dates all the way back to the 1500s in Europe. So how did those little pesky pests get to the United States, you may be wondering?

Early American Bed Bugs


While Europeans were traveling to settle in America, bed bugs came straight along for the ride as well. They would cling to wooden furniture on ships and be brought into the new American homes where they settled. Workers would travel via train and carry the bed bugs along with them in their luggage. This is how they began to spread like wildfire into hotels. Bed bugs were much worse in poor areas because wealthy families had the means to keep things clean regularly, and had grease from their hearty meals that they would rub on bed frames to keep bed bugs away.


Back in the 1800’s bed bugs were seasonal and only seemed to break out whenever it was warmer. Starting in the 1900’s bed bugs infested homes and hotels year-round because people started to use central heating, causing those pests to stay comfortable year-round.
During the war, bed bugs traveled among soldiers in barracks via their helmets, uniforms, boots, etc.
There seemed to be nowhere safe from bed bugs in the 1900s. Theatres had to remove rows of chairs at a time, schools had to replace lockers, Hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons had to remove bedding and get all new furnishings to get rid of the bed bug outbreak.

Early Treatment of Bed Bugs

To prevent bed bugs from invading homes in the early 1800s, people would use beds that were made of sassafras wood. This was thought to be a deterrent for bed bugs back then. They would also pour a mixture of boiling water, arsenic, and sulfur on the bed frames.
Travelers who were staying in hotels would pull the beds away from walls, where bed bugs also like to travel and stick the legs of the bed frame in buckets of oil.
When the laundry was returned from the cleaner or children came home from summer camps, all of their belongings would be searched for bed bugs before entering their home.
Military barracks had signs put up all over that warned soldiers to check their beds and to report any signs of bed bugs immediately.

Bed Bugs Now

Now in the 21st century, we have better extermination procedures but the fear of a bed bug outbreak is always serious because people move around so much more now and so quickly. While traveling, if you lay your suitcase on the floor and bed bugs get inside of your personal belongings, they will be brought home with you. From then, they may transfer to your daughters room, and then she may bring them to everyone at school. It is a vicious cycle and it is important to get ahead of it before it becomes a major problem

These bugs do not have the ability to fly, but they have terrorized homes and businesses for years with how quickly they migrate from one place to another. We are now seeing more cases of bed bugs than ever before.

Prevention of Bed Bugs

So how do we keep from getting bed bugs in our homes or on our travels? It is not simple, but there are precautions you can take. First, always call us at McCauley Services of Central Arkansas if you do not know what you are looking for. We will come out and do a free inspection before we set you up with a treatment plan.

While traveling here are a few tips to keep your life free from bed bugs.

  1. Inspect your room when you check into a hotel or motel
  2. Pull back linens and look closely at seams of the mattress for signs of bugs
  3. Look for blood stains or little black dots
  4. Double-check cushions in the couches
  5. Call the front desk AS SOON as you see signs of bed bugs
  6. Never lay your luggage down on the floor without inspecting the room first

So what if you get bed bugs and bring them home with you? Again, give us a call. Treating bed bugs requires a different treatment plan than say ants or roaches and therefore a different price. Our contracts are customized to meet your needs and expectations so our prices reflect that. When you contact our office we can provide you with a general price range for bed bugs. We may recommend a free inspection, where one of our representatives will thoroughly investigate your concerns, give you our recommendation for treatment and pricing information for the service.
Bed bugs are one of the hardest infestations to treat because they travel so quickly and can go undetected for so long. We suggest calling us to come out and do a preventative maintenance check on your home. We can get ahead of the problem before it starts. If you’ve read this far, we know you’re itching to give us a call. Let us take care of you so you can sleep in peace, and not let the bedbugs bite.