As "nest parasites," bedbugs haven't had much trouble following us over the millennia from caves and huts to houses and hotels. They hide in dark, secluded areas during the day — in mattresses, behind walls, under floors — and come out at night to drink blood. An outbreak can spread quickly, since females lay up to five eggs a day and 500 in a lifetime.
Pesticides like DDT nearly wiped out U.S. bedbugs in the 1940s, but they've recently come bouncing back — and not just in tightly packed tenements or cheap motels. From Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch to skyscrapers and suburban homes, Americans are increasingly besieged by bedbugs. They're not known to spread disease, but they can spur anxiety and anguish thanks to their painful bites and persistent infestations.
Watch the video below to learn more about how bedbugs attack: