In Brief: Buggy bedfellows
You've probably heard about the return of bed bugs, those small, wingless bloodsucking insects that, as advertised, live around beds and like nothing more than a warmblooded companion to feed on at night.
Explanations for the comeback of Cimex lectularius include increased foreign travel, so bed bugs from overseas have more opportunities to hitch a ride into American homes on luggage and clothes of tourists. More limited use of pesticides may be another factor. "But these are just speculations," says Richard Pollack, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health and a bed bug expert. "Only the bedbugs know for sure — and they're not offering an explanation."
The good news is that bed bug bite is just a bite. In fact, usually people don't even notice bed bugs while they are feeding, according to Pollack. And unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs aren't known to spread disease-causing viruses or bacteria.