When humans lived in very close quarters in caves, and were exposed frequently to bats. Bats and humans living side by side, the bed bug would have made an easy transition from the bat, its preferred method of transportation, to the human host.
The bed bug has always been a particularly difficult pest to eradicate. It has always preyed upon a host, and has always been there, alongside humans. The bed bugs may have known our species for longer than any other animal, which is slightly depressing.
Fossilized bed bugs have been found at grave sites, in burial chambers, and in situations that suggest they were used as a medicinal potion to try to cure medical problems.
Egyptians would boil and drink the bed bugs, in order to cure snakebite. There are no known survivors of this cure. By 100 AD, the bed bugs were a known animal in Italy, and by the 1400s, in France. Wherever humanity wandered, the bed bug was comfortable knowing it would have a cozy and warm place to sleep near a fire.
Bed bugs carry a whole litany of issues with them, and their spread these days is due to the resurgence of a secondary trade economy, international air travel and close living quarters due to economic hardship.
The impacts of a bed bug infestation can range from the psychological distress of not being able to sleep safely to the physical skin lesions that can be left by the hungry little blood suckers. This history was provided by the Toronto Experts on Bed Bugs and other pests.