Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

There are fossils of bed bugs from Egypt which date back to 1500 BC; not only that, but even ancient Greek literature written by Aristotle mentions bed bugs around 350 BC. With that in mind, you can see that bed bugs evolved just like any other creature on this earth.

There are over 100 bed bug species (Cimicidae), and every last one is an obligate blood-sucking parasite. This means that their only means of nutrition is through blood. Bed bugs start in your home by unknowingly bringing one in or migrating in from another apartment. 

But where do bed bugs come from? Originally it was thought that they descended from bat bugs, but now we know this is not the case. A study published in 2019, titled “Bedbugs Evolved Before Their Bat Hosts and Did Not Co-speciate with Ancient Humans,” determined that bed bugs were on this planet 115 mya, which is many years before bats.

Learn all about the differences between bat bugs vs bed bugs here.

All bed bug species predate the evolution of bats, so we now know that bed bugs did not descend from bat bugs. Over the past 115 million years, all bed bug species have shifted hosts. C. lectularius did not emerge after hominids entered the caves. We now know that C. lectularius was already there and just took an opportunity to switch to humans. (and it was there before the bats were)

where do bed bugs come from

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, parasitic insects that feed and survive on the blood of people and other animals. These pests are typically brown or reddish-brown and have flat, oval-shaped bodies. They like to live near their host to get a regular blood meal.

Bed bugs are wingless and cannot fly but can move quickly over surfaces. These parasites have 6 legs and 2 antennae, which help them navigate.

What Causes Bed Bugs? (How Do You Get Bed Bugs in Your House?)

Here are some examples of scenarios that cause bed bugs:

  • You pick up a piece of used furniture with a bed bug. Now you just introduced them into your home.
  • Your friend has bed bugs and sat in your car. They may have dropped off a bed bug hitchhiker.
  • If you live in a building with a known bed bug issue, you can enter your apartment through the radiators, and outlets, along steam pipes, or crawl under your front door.

  • Do you frequently check out library books? Bed bugs in books are a real concern.
  • Sometimes you can pick one up from a public place like a doctor’s office, theatre chair, park bench, or restaurant seat.
  • Let’s talk about hotels; you can easily pick up a bed bug at a hotel, especially if you are one of the 30% that do not react to their bites. If you don’t react to bed bug bites, the chances of bringing bed bugs home from a hotel are higher.
  • A bed bug crawls into your cuff from an airplane seat.
  • You stayed overnight in a hospital, and the previous patient in your room had bed bugs.
  • One of your classmates has bed bugs, and one crawls from their bookbag to yours.
  • The moving truck you rented had bed bugs from a previous customer. Now your stuff is at risk of becoming infested.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From Originally?

Scientists have recently discovered that bed bugs evolved more than 115 million years ago. They were on the planet about 50 million years before bats arrived. We don’t know which creature was their host when dinosaurs roamed.

By analyzing the DNA of bed bugs, we now know that they were around when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. In the 2000s, there were 14 subfossil remains of bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) discovered by archeologists in a cave in Oregon.

To note: Archaeological specimens of Cimex cf. lectularius have been discovered worldwide.

How Do Bed Bugs Start?

Bed bugs start when you have a pregnant female bug or an adult male and female bed bug. People often ask us: “Are bed bugs asexual?” The simple answer is that, no, bed bugs are not asexual. However, you can pick up one pregnant female, and she can start a whole colony of bed bugs in your home.

What is the Main Cause of Bed Bugs?

what causes bed bugs

A bed bug can enter your home on a UPS package, on your clothing, on your luggage, or in many other ways. The leading cause of bed bugs is bringing in a hitchhiker. If you heat treat everything that comes into your home inside a small bed bug heater like a Thermal Strike, you’ll significantly reduce your risk.

Not getting a bed bug infestation is all about reducing your risks. Learning all about the early bed bug signs will help you avoid an infestation.

What’s the Most Common Way to Get Bed Bugs?

What’s the most common way to get bed bugs? Most people think it has something to do with not keeping a clean house. However, that’s not the case.

The most common way to get bed bugs is by bringing in a hitchhiker from a trip or public place. Another common culprit is staying in a hotel or motel with them. 

A third common way to get bed bugs is by living in an apartment building with a bed bug issue. Bed bugs can travel from one apartment to another through floorboards, walls, outlets, or radiators.

How Do Bed Bugs Actually Get Into Your Bed? 

There are many ways for bed bugs to get into your bed: through used furniture, hitchhiking with friends, crawling in from public places, or coming home with you from a hotel stay.

Here are some common ways that bed bugs get into your bed:

Crawling on the Floor and Up Your Bed

A bed bug can crawl on the floor and find its way to your bed, so we highly recommend using interceptor cups on your bed and couch posts. Check out our reviews of the best bed bug interceptors and how to know which color trap to get.

Unpacking Infested Luggage on Your Bed

If you stay at a hotel with bed bugs, the risk of infesting your home is high. We recommend unpacking your luggage in the bathroom instead of on your bed. Unloading in the bathroom will help prevent bed bugs from getting onto your bed.

Sitting on an Infested Couch or Chair and Then Sitting on Your Bed

If you have bed bugs on your couch or chair, they can crawl onto clothing. Once the bed bugs are on your clothes, you can unknowingly drop them off on your bed.

Crawling From the Wall to Your Pillow

A bed bug can crawl on your wall and get onto your pillows or headboard if they touch the wall.

Sitting on Your Bed With the Same Clothes That You Wore in Public

It’s always good practice to change your clothes when you get home. You can never be sure that a place you sit doesn’t have bed bugs. I constantly change my clothes upon arriving home so as not to infest myself accidentally. Doing this one thing will help to keep your home bed bug free.

How Are Bed Bugs Created?

Bed bugs are created when a male and female bed bug mate. The female will lay a few eggs daily, and baby bed bugs will hatch. Then the babies go through 5 stages before becoming an adult. Only the adults can mate and make more baby bed bugs.

Final Thoughts for Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Now that you have more information on where bed bugs come from, you must be vigilant to avoid an infestation. Knowing the most common ways that bed bugs get into your home is an excellent place to start.

As we mentioned, bed bugs have been around for millions of years and are not going anywhere. So it’s essential to be vigilant in mitigating an infestation. Make sure to use interceptor cups on your bed and couch posts, and be careful with your clothing when returning home from public places.