Bedbugs may seem like a relatively recent problem in the U.S., but that’s only because most of us aren’t old enough to remember the last time the parasites were common: they were exterminated almost entirely in the 1940s and ’50s. My grandmother, who’s almost 90, told me she remembers her mother squirting kerosene on the bedroom windowsills to get rid of bedbugs—and that’s not even one of the most extreme ways to get rid of the pests that I’ve heard of.