Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World

Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World

by Brooke Borel
Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World

Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World

by Brooke Borel

Hardcover

$30.00 
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Overview

Bed bugs. Few words strike such fear in the minds of travelers. In cities around the world, lurking beneath the plush blankets of otherwise pristine-looking hotel beds are tiny bloodthirsty beasts just waiting for weary wanderers to surrender to a vulnerable slumber. Though bed bugs today have infested the globe, the common bed bug is not a new pest at all. Indeed, as Brooke Borel reveals in this unusual history, this most-reviled species may date back over 250,000 years, wreaking havoc on our collective psyche while even inspiring art, literature, and music—in addition to vexatious red welts.
 
In Infested, Borel introduces readers to the biological and cultural histories of these amazingly adaptive insects, and the myriad ways in which humans have responded to them. She travels to meet with scientists who are rearing bed bug colonies—even by feeding them with their own blood (ouch!)—and to the stages of musicals performed in honor of the pests. She explores the history of bed bugs and their apparent disappearance in the 1950s after the introduction of DDT, charting how current infestations have flourished in direct response to human chemical use as well as the ease of global travel. She also introduces us to the economics of bed bug infestations, from hotels to homes to office buildings, and the expansive industry that has arisen to combat them.

Hiding during the day in the nooks and seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, wallpaper, or any clutter around a bed, bed bugs are thriving and eager for their next victim. By providing fascinating details on bed bug science and behavior as well as a captivating look into the lives of those devoted to researching or eradicating them, Infested is sure to inspire at least a nibble of respect for these tenacious creatures—while also ensuring that you will peek beneath the sheets with prickly apprehension.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226041933
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 04/08/2015
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Brooke Borel is a science writer and journalist. She is a contributing editor to Popular Science, and her writing has also appeared in such places as the Atlantic and Slate.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Mysterious Bites
 
1. Cryptic Insect: Meet the Bed Bug
 
2. The Fall: DDT and the Slaying of the Beast
 
3. The Forgotten Era: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
 
4. The Return: A Pyrethroid Paradox
 
5. Annihilation: By Any Means Necessary
 
6. Fear: When Things Go Bite in the Night
 
7. Money: The Wild West of the Bed Bug Economy
 
8. Mysterious Rash: The Psychological Toll of Travel
 
9. The Origin of a Species: The Bed Bug’s Beginning
 
Epilogue: Horror, Curiosity, and Joy
 
Appendix 1: Brooke’s Bed Bug Guide
 
Appendix 2: Bed Bug Songs
 
Appendix 3: Bed Bug Literature
 
Appendix 4: Bed Bug Limericks
 
Acknowledgments
 
References
 
Index
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