Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Entomology
Extension Specialist, Household & Structural Pests, OHIO State University, Illinois
Bed bugs are parasites that preferentially feed on humans. If people aren’t available, they instead will feed on other warm-blooded animals, including birds, rodents, bats, and pets. Bed bugs were common in the United States prior to World War II, after which time widespread use of synthetic insecticides such as DDT greatly reduced their numbers. Improvements in household and personal cleanliness as well as increased regulation of the used furniture market also likely contributed to their reduced pest status.