Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

Charles Bryant

We all know the familiar bedtime mantra -- goodnight, sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite. I remember hearing this as a child and thinking, "That's nice... wait a minute, did you say bedbugs?" Nobody ever told me just what a bedbug was. In my mind it was a fearsome bloodsucking creature. Turns out I wasn't too far off. I didn't have much to worry about though, since bedbugs were largely eradicated during the 1950s.

Since that time these pests have made quite a comeback. The Guardian in England reports today that bedbugs have risen anywhere from 300 to 1,500 percent over the past six years in some parts of London. There are fears that the problem could get as bad as it was in the 1930s, when one in three homes were infested with bedbugs. The issue isn't limited to the U.K. Separate stories from New York, Chicago and Canada in recent weeks have all pointed out the same thing -- bedbugs are back.

If you wake up with itching red, splotchy welts then you may be under attack. They typically feed on human blood and are attracted to warm areas, like your bed. It's a misconception that bedbugs are a sign of squalor and filth. You can keep your room sanitized and still have a bedbug problem. The good news is that they aren't really dangerous -- it's more of a nuisance than anything.

Does anyone have any bedbug horror stories that you'd like to share?

Your homework for today: How do bedbugs work? When you have an itch, what is happening under your skin? Would you pay $64,950 for a bed?