We know bedbugs are creepy and they're crawly, but not a whole lot more, reports the New York Times in a look at the mystery bug that largely vanished for four decades—only to make a very well publicized comeback that culminated recently. Entomologists have largely ignored the critter, and limited studies have mostly come from the pesticide industry in search of the elusive answer to "What kills it?" The EPA only offers vague suggestions on "bedbug control."
Experts aren't even sure why bedbugs don't appear to spread disease. And indeed, the advent of DDT in the 1950s nearly eradicated the population in the US: “The first time I saw one that wasn’t dated 1957 and mounted on a microscope slide was in 2001,” says a cockroach expert, who's since expanded her repertoire. Experts theorize the current population explosion might have originated overseas.
(Read more bedbugs stories.)