The Dilemma of Bedbugs

by Michael_Koger

Bedbugs are a worldwide health concern, and these insects (arthropods) have found their way to every continent of the world.

Bedbugs have interfered with human sleep for thousands of years. In fact, they were present 3,500 years ago among the ancient Egyptians. Though they have mostly occurred in poor regions of the globe, it is evident now that they have reached every continent. Moreover, they affect people of every socioeconomic status.

There was a decline in their presence during the middle of the 20th century; however, bedbugs have since made a resurgence. This may have to do with insecticide resistance as well as the removal of the insecticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) in some countries. Travel technology has also advanced across the globe, and this has led to the spread of these arthropods to many regions [1, 2, 3].

Travelers have even carried bedbugs to five-star hotels and resorts, and subsequent customers are at risk for acquisition of the infestation [2].

Global Health Issue

     Bedbugs are especially present in large cities such as New York and Philadelphia.  Nevertheless, they are in every state of the United States.  They are particularly numerous in refugee camps and low-income communities.  Infestations affect apartments, college dormitories, shelters, cruise ships, trains, and buses [1, 2].

     These organisms are obligate parasitic arthropods, and this means that they must feed on humans or animals in order to survive.  The scientific name for the common bedbug is Cimex lectularius, and it resides in temperate climates.  Cimex hemipterus, on the other hand, lives in tropical areas.  In any event, there is interbreeding between the two species [1, 2].

     Though bedbugs are quite a nuisance everywhere, there is no evidence that they transmit disease to humans when they suck blood [1, 2, 3].

     In homes, these insects tend to remain within eight feet of where people sleep at night.  They generally feed between 1:00 am and 5:00 am.  The warmth of human bodies as well as the emission of carbon dioxide from people draw bedbugs to the person.  They especially like dark environments of the home because light seriously disturbs them [1, 2].

     In the home, the insects commonly reside in mattress seams, box springs, bed linens, clothes, electrical outlets, and suitcases.  Couches, chairs, picture frames, carpets, and wallpaper are other places where they stay.  They may lead to property damage and other expenses

[1, 2, 3].


     The occurrence of bedbug infestations is a global problem that has worsened in recent decades.


  1. Ibrahim, O., Syed, U., and Tomecki, K.  (2017).  Bedbugs:  Helping your patient through an infestation.  Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 84, 207-211.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2016).  Parasites—Bedbugs.  Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  (2017).  Bedbugs:  Get them out and keep them out.  Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  4. The photo shows male and female bedbugs.  Reprinted with permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  5. Copyright 2017 Michael Koger Sr., All Rights Reserved. 


The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.

Updated: 06/30/2017, Michael_Koger
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Michael_Koger on 07/01/2017

When people travel, bedbugs come with the luggage or any other way they can such as via clothing.

blackspanielgallery on 06/30/2017

How do they travel?

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