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You’ve heard of stowaways on ships, but how about the ones that may be hiding deep within your luggage? Travelers should be alert to the risk posed by bed bugs, a stealthy insect that’s as much at home in a suitcase as in a mattress.

The accursed Cimex lectularius will not only avail itself of your blood while on holiday, it’s likely to accompany you home and propagate, producing thousands of hungry progeny.

Difficult to detect, these reddish-brown, oval-shaped insects live exclusively on blood and feed primarily at night, emerging from the many folds and crevices of mattresses, box springs and headboards to hunt for exposed flesh.

Bed bugs are back with a vengeance, infiltrating homes and hotels at an alarming rate, particularly in Australia, which faces a serious threat from these seemingly indestructible creatures.

“The bed bug situation here continues to get much worse, both in terms of the number of infestations and type,” says Stephen L. Doggett, an entomologist

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