Each night a couple years ago, Louis Salgado fell asleep knowing he would wake up a few hours later itching all over his body.
The West Covina apartment he and his late wife shared for two decades was infested with bed bugs for the better part of 2015.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Salgado, 64, said recently as he recalled the “most uncomfortable experience” of his life. “It got to the point that I’d be up in the middle of the night with a flashlight and I’d be seeing them crawl all over the carpet and I’d try to kill them, try to stomp on them tried whatever I had available.”
Turns out bed bugs, those not-so-cuddly insects our parents mentioned when they tucked us in at night — and that we didn’t give a second thought to, are very real these days.
And, yes, they bite.
Indeed, experts say the reddish-brown bed bug that is about the size of a grain of rice has made an extraordinary comeback after a roller coaster of a century.
In the early decades of the 1900s, the bug was widespread across the U.S. But the advent of DDT during World War II changed that, killing off huge numbers in the 1940s and ’50s.
“We thought it was gone forever,” said Dini Miller, professor of entomology at Virginia Tech University. “When you think about it now, that was kind of stupid.”
After lying low for decades, the dreaded insect that was mentioned in medieval European literature is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Since 2000 its numbers have multiplied.
“It’s just exploded,” Miller said.
Today they’re everywhere.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they’re in…
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