Bedbugs have plagued mankind since the caves. These small nocturnal insects feed on the blood of humans and some animals, leaving a wake of irritating, itchy welts and rashes. Though only extreme infestations are known to cause health problems (possible anemia), they are linked to sleep disturbances, insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, and skin sensitivity. Once established, they can also be very difficult (and expensive) to get rid of.

For nearly half a century, bedbugs nearly disappeared, thanks to two inventions; the vacuum cleaner and DDT (a pesticide). DDT accompanied other serious problems, particularly environmental and health risks. In 1972, most applications for DDT were banned, including its use as a pesticide. Massive resurgences in bed bug infestations have led to new contenders in the man vs. bed bug war. These include: comprehensive heat treatment, bed bug proof encasements, vapor steamers, dissolving sealable laundry bags, bed bug detection canines and portable luggage heaters.

Bed bug infestations often go unnoticed until they have thoroughly established their presence. Welts and bumps typically associated with bedbug bites occor as an allergic reaction to bedbug saliva. In some cases, hosts display allergic responses soon after exposure to bites, but more often it takes a period of time (varies person by person) to develop reactions. This delayed immune response buys bugs extra time to establish safe habitats near their food source (you). Further, their small size (nymphs can be as small as the head of a pen), transparant bodies (as nymphs, but they grow darker as adults), and nocturnal schedule can help them elude early detection. More information about detecting bed bugs
Bed bugs are extremely efficient at hiding. They commonly group together in crevices of furniture, seams of clothing, matresses box springs or bedding, at seams or cracks along walls and flooring. This complicates both detection and erradication once they have become established. 

Adult bedbugs can survive long periods of deprivation; when lacking food or oxygen, they go into hibernation for periods of up to 18 months. Younger bedbugs can go without food for long periods of time
, though for as not as long as adults. This makes it impractical to 'starve out' bedbugs by bagging belongings or leaving the premises.

Bed bug infestations can occur in any environment or climate hospitable to human life. Cleanliness and sanitation do not deter bed bugs; they have been discovered in posh luxury suites, upscale homes and Ivy League dorms. De-cluttering can help control infestations, but they can find places to hide in uncluttered homes and hotels.

Bed bugs which feed on humans can also feed on household pets, though they are not preferred.