In response to a resurgence of bed bugs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is this week hosting its first-ever summit on the little blood suckers.
"The problem seems to be increasing, and it could definitely be worse in densely populated areas like cities, although it can be a problem for anyone," said Lois Rossi, director of the registration division in the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, the Associated Press reported.
Bed bugs live in mattresses, sofas and sheets. They're not known to transmit any diseases, but people can have an allergic reaction to their bites.
Once common, bed bug problems in the United States were rare over the past few decades. That's changed in recent years, and infestations of the tiny reddish-brown insects have been reported in hotels, hospital wings, college dormitories and homeless shelters in a number of cities, the AP reported.
Currently, there are few chemicals on the market approved for use on mattresses that are effective at combating bed bugs. Heating, freezing or steaming the bugs may be considered as alternatives to chemicals.