Human bedbugs, Cimex lectularius, are “true bugs,” that is, insects in the order Hemiptera. They are an infernal pest, sucking the blood out of people and leaving a nasty, itchy rash. (I was bitten only once, but it was in a fleabag hotel in Peru, and there were many bites all over me, with the rash persisting for about three weeks.) Fortunately, bedbugs aren’t known to carry any diseases.
Still, they’re annoying, as you’ll know if you’ve followed the news over the past couple of years. Having been nearly eradicated by 1940 following applications of DDT, bedbugs started making a comeback when we declared a DDT moratorium, and the bugs are now common in American cities and a devil to eliminate.
Here’s a human bedbug sucking blood from the arm of a volunteer (photo from Wikipedia)
But where did bedbugs come from? Well, it’s long been known that their closest relative seems to be the bat bug
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