Bedbugs, the notorious pests of nursery rhymes, have returned from near-extermination to increasingly afflict Chicago sleepers.
"Years ago, we'd rarely hear about bedbugs," said Dr. Lynn Haramis, an entomologist with the Illinois Public Health Department. "Now we're getting several calls on a weekly basis."
The quarter-inch pests live in beds, luggage and furniture and can survive for months without their only food source -- blood.
Although generally benign, bites can be extremely itchy and scratching may provoke infection.
Pesticides helped decimate the bedbug population in the 1940s and '50s, but the bloodsuckers have reawakened Dracula-like through globalization, coming into the country on travelers' luggage.