Bed bugs, which are wingless, parasitic insects, have made a huge comeback in recent years. With the development of DDT, they were virtually eliminated and almost nonexistent until the mid-90s, when pest-control companies began baiting (rather than spraying) for cockroaches and ants. As a result of this change in technique, bed bugs were no longer being killed along with roaches and ants. At the same time, immigrants from third-world countries, where resistant strains of bed bugs have developed, started carrying them into major metropolitan areas. In Massachusetts, the Allston-Brighton area of Boston has been particularly affected.
Thought to have originated in the Middle East, bed bugs afflict humans, bats and birds. In their non-blood-engorged state, they measure 1/5th inch long by 1/8th of an inch wide. They are oval-shaped and have flattened bodies.