ABOUT THIS BOOK
Few animals elicit such a profound combination of horror, fear, and disgust as the bedbug. Uninvited, bedbugs invade our most private spaces (our beds), take away our blood, and afterwards, impudently mark their territory (our sheets). In this book, Klaus Reinhardt investigates the natural and human history of these vampiric insects, examining how ordinary people, travelers, writers, and scientists have experienced bedbugs; how we have coped with them; and what we have done to combat them.
From fossils to classical Greek plays to the beds of medieval travelers, history is a rash of bedbugs. So ubiquitous and so loathed are these contentious creatures, the first recorded use of the insect moniker “bug” refers to them, a word that now means any sort of glitch or invader—from computer errors to snooping devices. Lifting the covers on this pestilential history, Reinhardt shows how bedbugs were not only the center of bitter fights among scientists, but also how the bugs’ dangerous aspects were foregrounded, and how bedbugs’ peculiar mating habits fueled public revulsion. Richly illustrated, full of the latest bedbug research, and sure to make you itch, Bedbug closes with a plea for sanguine tolerance—something humans and bedbugs will need alike as worldwide infestation rates soar.