Bed bugs get their name from their habit of hiding near beds, which allows them to feed on human hosts while they sleep. Bed bugs were mostly eradicated in the developed world for many years. Several factors led to their resurgence in the 1990s, including increased international travel and a lack of public awareness about prevention. Today, one out five Americans has had an infestation or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs.
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. They will hide in luggage, purses, laptop cases and other personal belongings in an effort to find a human food supply. They are elusive creatures. They can hide in bedding and mattresses. Bed bugs can also hide behind baseboards, in electrical switch plates and picture frames, behind wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, hotel, college dorm, etc.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts. People with infestations may experience sleeplessness, anxiety and social isolation.