Bedbugs lived TWO times as long as they thought and may have sucked the blood of dinosaurs

Bed bugs combed the earth 100 million years ago alongside dinosaurs, scientists discovered.

Previously thought it had evolved 50 million years ago, but the latest study shows that they are actually twice as old as bats, thought to be their first hosts.

Although they could feed on the dinosaurs, birds and burrowing animals were previously hosts because they preferred animals with & # 39; houses & # 39; such as nests and caves.

By better understanding the small animals, scientists hope to be able to better control and prevent the transmission of insect-borne diseases.

Scroll down for video

Bed bugs (photos) crawled the earth next to the dinosaurs 100 million years ago, scientists discovered

Bed bugs (photos) crawled the earth next to the dinosaurs 100 million years ago, scientists discovered

Scientists from a number of institutions, including the University of Sheffield, compared the DNA of dozens of bed bugs to understand their evolution and their relationship with humans.

The findings revealed that bedbugs developed 50 million years before bats – a mammal that people previously thought was their first host.

Genetic evidence shows that they have been parasitic companions with other species except humans for more than 100 million years, while walking the earth with dinosaurs at the same time.

More research is needed to find out what their host was at the time, although the current understanding suggests that it is unlikely that they will feed on the blood of dinosaurs.

This is because they are usually attached to animals that have a & # 39; home & # 39; such as a bird's nest, an owl's cave, a bat or a human bed – a way of life that dinosaurs don't seem to have adopted.

Bed bugs can score high among the list of most unwanted human bedmates, but so far little was known about when they first came into existence.

The team, including the University of Sheffield in the UK, has been collecting samples from wild sites and museums around the world for 15 years, including African caves, cliffs and bird nests in Asia.

Based on the findings, experts concluded that the evolutionary history of bed bugs is much more complex than previously thought.

Professor Mike Siva-Jothy of the Animal and Plant Sciences Department of the University of Sheffield said: & # 39; To think that the pests that live in our beds today developed more than 100 million years ago and the earth side by side walking with dinosaurs was a revelation.

& # 39; It shows that the evolutionary history of bed bugs is much more complex than we previously thought. & # 39;

It was previously thought that it had evolved 50 million years ago, but the latest study shows that they are actually twice as old as the bats that are thought to be their first hosts.

It was previously thought that it had evolved 50 million years ago, but the latest study shows that they are actually twice as old as the bats that are thought to be their first hosts.

It was previously thought that it had evolved 50 million years ago, but the latest study shows that they are actually twice as old as the bats that are thought to be their first hosts.

HOW TO PLACE A BEDBUG

Small dark dots are the key.

Experts say that the buttons on a mattress are a popular hiding place. If the infection is bad, small white dots may be visible.

A faint almond scent may also be noticeable

A pest fighter will have to remove the insects because household insecticides are not strong enough

Dr. Steffen Roth from the Bergen University Museum in Norway, who led the study, added: & # 39; The first big surprise we discovered was that bedbugs are much older than bats, which everyone assumed to be their first host.

& # 39; It was also unexpected to see that evolutionary older bedbugs were already specialized on a single gas type, although we did not know what the host was when T. rex walked the earth. & # 39;

The study also shows that a new species of bedbug invades the human environment about every half a million years.

When bedbugs changed host, they did not always adapt to stay on that host, but retained the ability to jump back to their original host.

This shows that some bed bugs specialize, but some remain generalists and jump from host to host.

Professor Klaus Reinhardt, a bed bug researcher at the University of Dresden in Germany, who co-led the study, said: & # 39; These species are the ones that we can reasonably expect to be the following drink our blood, and it may not even take half a million years, given that many more people, livestock and pets living on earth now offer much more opportunities. & # 39;

The team also discovered that the two most important bed bugs of people – the common and the tropical bedbug – are much older than people.

This contrasts with other evidence that the evolution of old people caused the division of other human parasites into new species.

Professor Mike Siva-Jothy from the University of Sheffield added: & These findings will help us better understand how bed bugs developed the properties that make them pests effectively – which will also help us find new ways to treat them & # 39;

The researchers hope that the findings will help create an evolutionary history of bed bugs, how they evolve to use different hosts and how they develop new traits.

The goal is to effectively combat insects and prevent the transmission of insect diseases, the scientists say.

The research is published in Current biology.

WHAT ARE BED BUGS?

Bed bugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites may itch, but usually do not cause other health problems.

Bed bugs can hide in many places, including bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind photos and under loose wallpaper.

Bed bugs can hide in many places, including bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind photos and under loose wallpaper.

HOW DO BEDBUG DUSTENSES WORK?

Genetic tests have shown that a single undetected pregnant bed bug is all it takes to start a complete infection.

A DNA study at the University of Sheffield showed that colonies of bed bugs come from a common ancestor or a pair of female bed bugs.

The pregnant bedbug can quickly feed a colony of thousands of people who feed on people.

Bedbugs can survive without eating for a month while waiting for a human.

At the end of the 1880s, an estimated 75 percent of households were affected, but the outbreak of the Second World War had reduced that number to 25 percent,

Their recent revival has been accused by some experts of resistance to commonly used insecticides and international travels.

. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) sciencetech