Bed bugs have been parasitic companions with other species aside from humans for more than 100 million years, walking the earth at the same time as dinosaurs.
Work by an international team of scientists, including the University of Sheffield, compared the DNA of dozens of bed bug species in order to understand the evolutionary relationships within the group as well as their relationship with humans.
The team discovered that bed bugs are older than bats – a mammal that people had previously believed to be their first host 50-60 million years ago. Bed bugs in fact evolved around 50 million years earlier.
Bed bugs rank high among the list of most unwanted human bedfellows but until now, little was known about when they first originated.