Infested: How The Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms And Took Over The World

Paperback | May 2, 2016

byBrooke Borel

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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.

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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 ...

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.

other books by Brooke Borel

The Chicago Guide To Fact-checking
The Chicago Guide To Fact-checking

Paperback|Sep 30 2016

$20.00 online$22.50list price(save 11%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:275 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:May 2, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022636108X

ISBN - 13:9780226361086

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“Infested, science writer Borel's natural history of the bed bug, looks at the bug's insurgency as a scientific, cultural, and economic phenomenon, and will leave you itching with delight. . . . As much as Borel hates the little critters and what they've done to her life, she nevertheless manages to do them justice in her book, which traces the history of bed bugs back 250,000 years, explores the role they played in popular and high culture, and roams the world and the conference spaces of Vegas hotels looking at the bed bug industry that has sprung into existence since the recovery of bed bug populations a decade ago—a microcosm and cautionary tale about regulation, greed, science and bureaucracies.”