After almost nearly being eradicated in the 1950s, bloodsucking bedbugs are on the rise.
New York City apartment dwellers lodged 4,638 bedbug complaints in fiscal 2006, up from none three years earlier. Complaints ballooned 67% in the first half of this year from their pace a year earlier.
"There's a new plague," said Dini Miller, an entomologist at Virginia Tech University.
Bedbugs were virtually eradicated from the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s, Miller said. The cause of their resurgence is not officially known, though theories include increased international travel in which the bugs hitch a ride on clothing or in luggage and decreased use of pesticides such as DDT.
Bedbugs are reddish-brown blood-sucking insects about a quarter of an inch long with a flat, oval shape. Drawn by body heat, they attack at night and inject an anesthetic that makes them virtually undetectable during their mealtime.
Utah Rescuers Plaugued by Bedbugs, a National Problem (Thanks, Dustin!)
Previously on Boing Boing:
• Bedbugs on the rise
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