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How to Check for Bedbugs

Bedbugs have been staging a comeback in recent years. Thanks in part to the ban on DDT, the use of less toxic (but less effective) pesticides, and the rise in international travel, these relentless, resilient, reddish-brown pests are quickly becoming a part of modern life.

This is important for a few reasons. First, bedbugs are surprisingly easy to pick up. Many victims unknowingly carry them home in their suitcases after traveling and staying in hotels.

Second, they're as tough to remove as a months-old red wine stain. Think you can go away for a few days and starve them to death? Hardly. These buggers can live many months without eating. Eradicating them is no DIY job, either. A call to a pest control professional is recommended if you spot them in your home.

Third, since they shun daylight, bedbugs typically wait until nightfall to make an appearance, often nibbling on you or your pet while you sleep.

And finally, these critters don't discriminate. Anyone is fair game — whether you live in a spotless two-story home in the suburbs or a rundown studio apartment in the middle of a city.

Here's what you need to know to help prevent bringing home this most unwanted guest.

Signs of Bedbugs

Know the telltale signs that bedbugs have set up shop:

• Adult bedbugs have flat, reddish-brown colored, oval bodies about the size of an apple seed.

• After eating, bedbugs will leave blood spots and dark fecal stains.

• As they grow, bedbugs shed their skins and leave behind light-brown exoskeleton shells.

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