Monthly Archives: February 2018

Bed Bugs Are Pooping Histamine Into Our Homes—and Possibly Making Us Sick

There are few living things on earth that can set our nerves more on edge than the aptly named bed bug (Cimex lectularius). Even if you’ve never had the displeasure of being their unwilling blood bank, you probably know someone who has. Since at least the 1990s, bed bugs have started to resist the pesticides we’ve long used against them and stormed back from near-extinction to once again become a common household pest.

Much as bed bug infestations are a nightmare to deal with, though, it’s long been thought that they pose little physical danger to us. They don’t seem to carry any diseases—scientists have exhaustively looked for pathogens they could theoretically host and infect us with, like HIV and Hepatitis B, but come up short. But a new study published Monday in PLOS-One suggests that we’ve been missing the whole picture. Bed bugs might not sicken us through their cooties, but they might be making us ill through the histamines they poop out into our homes.

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