I came across a series of Riker mounts in the Frost collection that I think are quite interesting. Each one has a smattering of bed bug specimens and a fouled swatch of wood that must’ve formed part of their daily retreat. The label indicates that they were collected in Old Main on December 8, 1924. Our Old Main? The offices, at that time (like now), of the president and his staff?! It’s not inconceivable, given the date. As the Riker’s label alludes, bed bugs were pervasive in the days “before DDT”.
And 89 years later, bed bugs are back—just look at our own University Housing website. Natural selection has taken care of the bed bugs’ DDT (and other insecticides) problem, and they’re resurging just about everywhere. Controlling bedbugs is now a rich area of research again, including in our own Department of Entomology. Maybe we’ll be able to sample these critters from Old Main again!