Bed bugs have returned to the bedrooms of Britain, and they are even harder to get rid of than before. Back in the 1930s, around a quarter of UK houses were infested with bed bugs, but the advent of synthetic insecticides – such as DDT after the Second World War – solved the problem, at least for a while.
By the 1980s bed bugs were almost eradicated in developed countries, but the last decade has seen a dramatic increase in infestations, both in Europe and the US. It is thought that one of the reasons for the dramatic increase in bed bug populations in recent years, is due to them developing resistance to various pesticides such as DDT and organophosphates.
Another reason is the move by pest controllers from using broad-spectrum insecticide sprays to eliminate common insect pests in buildings to using species-specific pesticide baits. Broad-spectrum sprays help to control bed bug infestations, but baits do not.
Mainly active at night, bed bugs are parasitic insects, which have adapted to feeding on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals, such as bats and birds. The common bed bug
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