Bedbugs are like lice – they are associated in the public mind with lack of hygiene and/or being low-class, but this characterization is unfair.
In fact, bedbugs may spread when international hotels become infested, subsequent guests open their suitcases, and the critters hop in, only to be transferred to the homes of the unwitting guests. In that case, we should think of bedbugs as a possible sign that the infestee is a world jet-setter.
A friend of mine whose husband is a pilot was infested with bedbugs – almost certainly because of her husband’s constant travel. There were two interesting points about the infestation:
a) She did not notice for a long time. Apparently the bugs had been feasting on her for some months, and she simply didn’t react much to the bites. (She was pregnant, which may have changed the way her body reacted – who knows.) She only discovered the infestation during a particularly intense cleaning phase, when she discovered a bunch of them, fat and happy, in her bed (and practically jumped off her balcony when she realized what was going on).
b) Standard recommendations included simply getting rid of the bed where they were living. She was reluctant to do this, because the furniture in question had sentimental/financial value. So, she decided to ignore the “get rid of it!” advice and simply go on an insane cleaning spree. Apparently, this worked.
I have not yet been visited by bedbugs (or lice), although fleas and roaches have both played significant roles in my daily life at times. I’m just waiting. I know they will find me eventually.