The pest control industry was largely non-existent until the 1940s. Since then, the business of pest control has grown into a major industry that sees billions of dollars each year. The pest control industry has never ceased to grow, and economic experts have predicted that the industry will only grow more prosperous in the years to come. This is because insect pest problems always grow worse, and never better. For example, invasive insects are rarely, if ever, eradicated from the non-native regions where they have established habitats, and the amount of invasive insects being introduced to new countries continues to grow. While insect pests may seem like a modern issue, humanity has been plagued by insect pests ever since humans came into existence. In fact, based on several insect species that have been found infesting mummies, experts know that insect pests were a major problem for ancient Egyptians.

Numerous insects, such as beetles, flies, and cockroaches have been found feeding on mummies from the Egyptian period. Some of these insects have offered researchers a glimpse into the pest control problems that affected ancient Egyptians. Beetles, more than any other insect, were heavily associated with ancient Egyptian culture. Dung beetles were worshiped, as their behavior was believed to reveal insights about the natural world. Dung beetles were so sacred to the ancient Egyptians that they placed the insects into the tombs of their most revered leaders, as they believed that the beetles would ensure their leader’s immortality. Lice and fleas were documented at the time as being major pests in Egypt, and many plagues of locusts, flies and mosquitoes wreaked havoc on the ancient society’s economy and state of public health. Ancient Egyptians took great care to properly store their food and their dead in a manner that prevented insect infestations. Despite these measures, evidence shows that food stores and tombs at the time became infested with insect pests regularly. Certain fly species found on Egyptian mummies indicate to researchers that even ancient Egyptian rulers were not protected from the diseases that are spread by certain fly species, such as myiasis. Several cockroach pest species have also been found on the bandages used to wrap mummies, indicating that they existed at the time when the mummified specimen died. The particular cockroach pests found on the mummies are common in Egypt today and they are well known as pests to food and structures.

Do you believe that most insects found on mummified bodies originated from present conditions?