Bedbugs may have sucked the blood of dinosaurs 100 million years ago as scientists discover they were alive twice as long ago as previously thought

  • They evolved 100 million years ago which is far earlier than previously thought
  • Making them 50 million years older than bats, once believed to be their first host
  • They feed on species with ‘homes’ such as nests, burrows and human beds 
  • So are unlikely to have sucked on dinosaurs although their first host is unknown 

Bed bugs scuttled the Earth 100 million years ago alongside the dinosaurs, scientists have found.

Previously thought to have evolved 50 million years ago, the latest study shows they are actually twice as old as bats, thought to be their first hosts.

While they could have fed on the dinosaurs, birds and burrowing animals were more likely hosts as they prefer animals with ‘homes’ like nests and burrows.

By understanding the tiny bugs better scientists hope to better control and prevent the transmission of insect-borne diseases.

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Bed bugs (pictured) scuttled the Earth 100 million years ago alongside the dinosaurs, scientists have found

Scientists from a number of institutions, including the University of Sheffield, compared the DNA of dozens of bedbug species to understand their evolution and their relationship with humans.

The findings revealed that Bedbugs evolved 50 million years before bats – a mammal that people had previously believed to be their first host.

Genetic evidence show that they have been parasitic companions with other species aside from humans for more than 100 million years, walking the earth at the same time as dinosaurs.

More research is needed to find out what their host was at that time, although current understanding suggests it’s unlikely they fed on the blood of dinosaurs.

This is because they usually attached to animals that have a ‘home’, such as a bird’s nest, an owl’s burrow, a bat’s roost or a human’s bed – a mode of living that dinosaurs don’t seem to have adopted.

Bedbugs may rank high among the list of most unwanted human bedfellows but until now, little was known about when they first originated.

The team, which includes University of Sheffield in the UK, spent 15 years collecting samples from wild sites and museums around the world, including African caves, cliffs and bird nests in Asia.

Based on the findings, experts found that the evolutionary history of bed bugs is far more complex than previously thought.

Professor Mike Siva-Jothy from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: ‘To think that the pests that live in our beds today evolved more than 100 million years ago and were walking the earth side by side with dinosaurs, was a revelation.

‘It shows that the evolutionary history of bed bugs is far more complex than we previously thought.’

Previously thought to have evolved 50 million years ago, the latest study shows they are actually twice as old as the bats, thought to be their first hosts.

HOW TO SPOT A BED BUG
Small dark dots are the key.

Experts say the buttons on a mattress are a popular hiding place If the infestation is bad, small white dots – which are bedbug eggs – may be visible.

A faint almond smell may also be noticeable

A pest controller will need to remove the bugs as household insecticides are not strong enough

Dr Steffen Roth from the University Museum Bergen in Norway, who led the study, added: ‘The first big surprise we found was that bedbugs are much older than bats, which everyone assumed to be their first host.

‘It was also unexpected to see that evolutionary older bedbugs were already specialised on a single host type, even though we don’t know what the host was at the time when T. rex walked the earth.’

The study also reveals that a new species of bedbug invades human environments about every half a million years.

When bedbugs changed hosts, they also didn’t always adapt to stay on that host but maintained the ability to jump back to their original host.

This demonstrates that while some bedbugs become specialised, some remain generalists, jumping from host to host.

Professor Klaus Reinhardt, a bedbug researcher from Dresden University in Germany, who co-led the study, said: ‘These species are the ones we can reasonably expect to be the next ones drinking our blood, and it may not even take half a million years, given that many more humans, livestock and pets that live on earth now provide lots more opportunities.’

The team also found that the two major bedbug pests of humans – the common and the tropical bedbug – are much older than humans.

This contrasts with other evidence that the evolution of ancient humans caused the split of other human parasites into new species.

Professor Mike Siva-Jothy from the University of Sheffield, added: ‘These findings will help us better understand how bedbugs evolved the traits that make them effective pests – that will also help us find new ways of controlling them.’

The researchers hope the findings will help create an evolutionary history of bed bugs, how they evolve to use different hosts and how they develop new traits.

The aim is to help control insects effectively and prevent the transmission of insect-vectored disease, say the scientists.

The research has been published in Current Biology.

WHAT ARE BED BUGS?
Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy but do not usually cause other health problems.

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

HOW DO BED BUG INFESTATIONS HAPPEN?
Genetic tests have revealed that a single undetected pregnant bed bug is all it takes to start an entire infestation.

A DNA study at Sheffield University showed colonies of bed bugs come from a common ancestor or a few of the female bed bugs.

The pregnant bed bug could rapidly create a colony of thousands that feed on humans.

Bed bugs are capable of surviving without feeding for a month as they wait for a human.

In the late 1880s, an estimated 75 per cent of households were affected, but by the outbreak of World War II, that figure had dwindled to 25 per cent,

Their recent resurgence has been blamed by some experts on resistance to commonly used insecticides and international travel.

 

Bed Bug Infestation Sweeping Metro Denver

FOX31 – July 18, 2017, by Keagan Harsh

DENVER — Tourists are coming to Colorado in droves this summer, and it’s not just visitors of the two-legged kind.  Our state is seeing an infestation of bed bugs.

Christina Thomas experienced it first hand. Thomas was visiting an Extended Stay America in Colorado Springs and says she woke up to find bed bugs all over her pillow.


“I woke up and three inches from my face I see a spot, and I look at it and say ‘no way, is that a bed bug?'” she said.

Christina isn’t the only person dealing with bed bugs in Colorado.

Jacob Marsh is one of several Denver exterminators absolutely overwhelmed with bed bug calls.

“It’s infestation levels over the whole city pretty much,” he said. “Right now we’re working 6 or 7 days a week,” said Marsh.

He says this is the worst time of year for bed bugs. However, Colorado’s infestation actually began several years ago. He estimates more than 3,500 homes are treated for bed bugs in the Denver area every year.


It’s a problem Marsh attributes to both the state’s growing population and Colorado’s popularity as a tourist destination.

“Denver is usually ranked 4th to 6th worst in the nation. We get a lot of good things when things are booming like it is, but unfortunately when people are coming in and traveling you also get a lot of unwanted visitors,” he said.

If you’re staying at a hotel there are things you can do to try and keep the bugs away.

First, store your luggage away from the bed on luggage racks or even in the bathroom.


Also, check the sheets, mattress, and bed frame for signs of the bugs.

One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that they’re too small to see. Most are actually about the size of an apple seed, and similar in appearance.

As for Christine Thomas, she isn’t taking any chances. She checked out of the hotel and left.

BedBugs Plague New Jersey Library – Summer Reading?

 

June 29, 2016 | by Miranda Leah for FiOS1

City officials say that after receiving a complaint, staff at the South Orange Library found bedbugs inside the library furniture.

Library patrons say they’re not surprised by the news, and extermination experts say that anyone who has visited the library should thoroughly examine their homes for the bugs and bug bites.

Community members say they just hope the library takes care of the problem quickly.

There is no word yet on when the library will re-open.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Bedbugs bite New York Moviegoers…One of the Top 10 Places

June 8, 2016 | by Teri Weaver, NewYorkUpstate.com

Bedbugs ruined a night at the movies in recent days for at least two sets of customers just outside of Buffalo, WIVB reports.

The bugs began biting one mother and her 3-year-old during “Alice Through the Looking Glass” at the Regal Cinemas on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, according to the report.

Taneeya Goodwin and her boyfriend were attacked by the insects Monday night during a screening of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle,” according to WIVB. Both women documented the bugs and bites with their cell phones.

Bedbugs in movie theaters are a thing.  The Travel Channel puts movie theaters on its Top 10 list of places to be wary of bites and infestations. (Libraries, retail stores and churches also make the list.)

Earlier this year, WIVB reported that Buffalo ranked No. 20 on a national list of places likely to have bedbugs.

The television station reported it has received complaints about the theater for months. Regal did not respond Tuesday to the station’s request for comment.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES

BedBug Infestation at USF – Invades Classrooms

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Outrage after woman deliberately releases BedBugs into wild due to her Buddhist principles

Releasing animals into the wild may seem like a humane thing to do, but the practice is attracting controversy in China, reports Popular Science. 


In April, a woman in the Yunnan province, who regularly reports on the animals she frees, shared news of setting loose bedbugs and around 127 pounds of snakes, according to China Daily.

While she and other such liberators are acting on long-held Buddhist principles where sending captive animals back into the wild is considered to be a benevolent act, the consequences can be harmful. 
One insect expert points out that during a previous release, the non-native and highly invasive golden apple snail brought significant damage to important crops. 
Observers have also noted that some captive animals likely lack the survival skills needed to live in the wild.
Last month, when officials tried to recapture foxes that had been released around a Beijing suburb, they found that many of the members had starved to death.

Dad captures video of live Bed Bug on newborn son hours after wife gives birth at Indiana IU Methodist Hospital

May 2, 2016

Fox 59 INDIANPOLIS, IND. – An Indianapolis man is speaking out against IU Methodist Hospital after he says he found a bed bug crawling on his wife’s hospital gown, just hours after she gave birth.

“Look at this, this is a bed bug,” says Jayson Everett.

In a live video stream that now has more than 25,000 views, Jayson Everett captures raw video of an alleged bed bug crawling around on his wife’s hospital gown at IU Methodist.

“This is disgusting, I have a newborn in there,” says Everett.

Everett tells FOX59 News that he found the bug just hours after his son was born on Friday, crawling around next to his newborn while his wife was trying to breastfeed. One of the staff members in the video does admit that it looks like a bed bug, and says they will take care of it.

“It was the IU Medical wrap with the IU logo on it that they put him in and as soon as we got him stripped all the way down, a bed bug fell out. I went out to the nurse’s station and said there is a bed bug in here!” says Everett.

Everett’s claims became more heated towards the IU staff, which needed to call security to try and calm the situation. He was escorted out of the hospital and says he has not been allowed back inside to see his wife or new baby for two days, he feels penalized for speaking up about the alleged incident.

IU Health Methodist Hospital released this statement “We take this matter seriously and are looking into the details of the situation.”

Everett is worried that his wife and baby may have been bitten by the bed bug that is best known for feeding on human blood.

“Your hospital is dirty, so I have to pay for it because I blew the whistle? Not my fault, you should have told the public a long time ago,” says Everett.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

How Protected Are You Against Bed Bugs?

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Bed Bugs that feed (on YOU) are more likely to survive pesticide exposure

bedbug_eating.jpgJanuary 26, 2016 | by Entomological Society of America | ScienceDaily

Bed bugs that take blood meals after being exposed to pesticides are more likely to survive, according to research. The researchers suggest that insecticide efficacy testing protocols should be changed so that they include using recently fed bed bugs, and that bugs that are fed one to three days after being exposed to pesticides.


Many studies have been done on how effective certain pesticides are when they are applied to bed bugs. However, most have not allowed the bed bugs to take a blood meal after being exposed to pesticides, which can change the mortality rates, according to an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Researchers from Rutgers University found that bed bugs that were allowed to feed after being treated with insecticides either had greater rates of survival, or they took longer to die than bed bugs that were not allowed to feed after being treated.

“Our results indicated that post-treatment feeding significantly reduced or slowed down bed bug mortality,” the researchers wrote.

In one case, bed bugs that were unable to feed after being sprayed with an insecticide had a mortality rate of 94 percent. But bed bugs that did feed after being sprayed with the same insecticide had a mortality rate of just 4 percent after 11 days.

This difference is important because most experiments that test the efficacy of insecticides against bed bugs are performed in labs where the bed bugs can’t feed after being exposure. However, in the field, bed bugs can feed after being treated with an insecticide, and the reduced or slowed mortality could give them a chance to reproduce.

“Many of the insecticides labeled for bed bug control may not be as effective as claimed, because of the inadequate testing method,” said Dr. Narinderpal Singh, one of the co-authors. “People often use laboratory bioassay results to predict field performance of an insecticide. It is important the testing conditions are similar to what would occur in the field. Current established test protocols for bed bug insecticides do not provide bloodmeals to bed bugs during the test period. We suspect the mortality data typically observed might be different if the tested bed bugs were provided a bloodmeal during the observation period.”

The researchers suggest that feeding “stimulates detoxification enzymes responsible for insecticide resistance,” which is why more bed bugs survive after taking bloodmeals, so using insecticides in tandem with other control methods is the best option.

“Incorporating non-chemical methods into bed bug control is very important in order to achieve good results,” said Singh.

The researchers also suggest that insecticide efficacy testing protocols should be changed so that they include using recently fed bed bugs, and that bugs that are fed one to three days after being exposed to pesticides.


The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Entomological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.  Journal Reference: Narinderpal Singh, Changlu Wang, Richard Cooper. Posttreatment Feeding Affects Mortality of Bed Bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Exposed to Insecticides. Journal of Economic Entomology, 2015; tov293 DOI: 10.1093/jee/tov293


[Examples of non-chemical methods include vacuuming visible bed bugs, laundering bed sheets and infested clothing using Live Free Dryer Strips, using Live Free Mattresses Covers and Live Free Box Spring Wraps and installing Live Free Leg Booties around the legs of beds and upholstered furniture.]

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