Since the late 1990s, bed bugs have made a comeback and have returned stronger than ever. Several reasons for the resurgence include an increase in international travel, changing pest control methods, and bed bugs developing an immunity of some insecticides. Bed bugs are parasites and are about one-quarter inch in length and flat, allowing them to get in or behind anything. When first infesting a location, bed bugs will migrate to areas of least exposure, such as a mattress or box spring, making them very hard to detect. It only takes 3–4 months for a home to become fully-infested and this is only when bed bugs become visible.
Bed bugs come out at nighttime and feed exclusively on human and animal blood. Their bites feel and even look similar to a mosquito bite. Often they are painless and result in small, red, itchy bumps along the body. A number of health effects may occur due to bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms, but they do not carry or transfer disease. Some people are unaware that they have been bitten and don't see any physical evidence of bites for up to nine days. This can make it hard to pinpoint where a person was when they were bitten, particularly if someone has been traveling.
Treatments can include the use of pesticides, steam treatments, heat treatments, vacuuming, and mattress and box spring encasements with bed bug proof covers. Heavy infestations can require multiple treatments and can result in having to discard infested mattresses or furniture. If mattresses or furniture are thrown out, it is best to destroy the items to the point that someone else cannot take them home and use them resulting in their home becoming infested.