Bed bugs are widespread throughout the world, but the biggest infestations tend to occur in developed nations. Bed bugs are particularly prevalent in homes with soft bedding and bed frames. Although the use of DDT during the 1930s and 1980s nearly eliminated the problem, bedbugs have since developed immunity to modern pest control chemicals. Furthermore, increased international travel is contributing to this problem, since bedbugs can be transported by clothing or even a suitcase.
While they are often confined to the bed, bedbugs can spread throughout the home, including under the legs of the bed. They can also travel up walls, through ceilings, and behind plates that cover electrical switches. They may also hide in used clothing or clothes stored in closets. Some are even able to migrate through siding or gutters to neighboring homes.
Bedbugs are small insects with a three-part “beak” that rests against the underside of the head and encloses two pairs of stylets. These stylets cut the skin of their victims. Their maxillae are long and thin tubes that serve as their mouthparts, where they feed on blood. They also feed on rodents, birds, and other animals. Their pheromone, which is released by bedbugs, attracts other bugs.
Bedbugs can be very uncomfortable. Their bites are itchy and savage, and may make travelers wake up with red welts. Fortunately, bedbugs do not carry disease, but if you have been bitten by one, you may have brought the bug’s eggs home with you. The hotels you stay in may have to monitor for bedbug eggs. You can also take preventative measures once you return home.