Bed bugs have an uncanny ability to return almost immediately after you attempt to get rid of a bed bug infestation.
And the problem is getting worse. Statistics show that infestations have increased three-fold over the past decade.
Now genetic tests have revealed that a single undetected pregnant bed bug is all it takes to start an entire infestation.
A DNA study showed that colonies of bed bugs come from a common ancestor or a few of female bed bugs.
The pregnant bed bug could rapidly create a colony of thousands of offspring that feed on humans.
The bed bugs' ability to generate a new colony from such small numbers might be a ‘clue to their recent success’.
If you just miss one, they can grow very quickly. It takes only a few weeks for this to happen.
Bed bugs are capable of surviving without feeding for a month as they wait for a human to arrive.
Their recent resurgence has been blamed by some experts on resistance to commonly used insecticides and the increase in international travel.
Bed bugs spread on clothes, bags and in furniture when it is moved - 'anywhere that people exist, particularly where they sit or lie down', according to bed-bug extermination expert David Cain.
They are wingless, rust colored insects about the size of an apple seed. During the day they lurk in the seams of mattresses, cracks in furniture, behind skirting boards and in crevices in the walls - coming out at night to feed on your blood.
They go for exposed areas of the body such as the legs and arms - they don't tend to bother burrowing through clothing.
When they bite, bed bugs inject tiny amounts of blood thinning and anesthetic agents into their victim, triggering an immune response in humans.
In most cases, and if they are left alone, the bites calm down and disappear over the course of a week to ten days.
While bed bugs are not known to carry diseases, doctors say there is still a question over whether they can transmit hepatitis B or C, although there are no proven cases.
But almost more profound than the physical reaction is the psychological one.
The problem is that victims think it's related to hygiene so it's a stigma. They're terrified to think their house is dirty or that they've introduced something that has caused their family damage.'
In fact, bed bugs do not choose a dirty home over a clean one - all they are interested in is your blood.