Clinical Review

Bed bug infestation

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 22 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f138

Re: Bed bug infestation

The BMJ of 26th Jan 2013 had an interesting article on 'Bed Bug Infestation'.

A booklet left to me by my late father entitled 'The Minor Horrors of War' written by A E Shipley, Sc.D, Master of Christ's College and Reader in Zoology at the University describes in clear detail the life and habits of biting insects including lice, bed-bugs, fleas, mites, ticks and leeches. The chapters first appeared in the BMJ and were reprinted in book form with the permission of the editor and proprietors of the journal. Presumably it was made available to soldiers who were suffering severe privations in the trenches during the First World War.

In the chapter about bed bugs there is a charming poem ascribed to an unknown American poet which my father often quoted:

The Lightning-bug has wings of gold,
The June-bug wings of flame,
The Bed-bug has no wings at all,
But it gets there all the same!

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 February 2013
Robert E Stewart
Retired GP
not applicable
9C/1 M erchiston Park Edinburgh EH10 4PW