The recent closures of a Victoria's Secret and an Abercrombie & Fitch to rid the New York City stores of bedbugs are only the latest example of the strong comeback the blood-drinking bugs are making worldwide. Bedbugs were largely eradicated from the US in the 1950s, but now they're back with a vengeance, with bedbug infestation complaints in New York rising from 500 in 2004 to 10,000 in 2009.
Countries around the world are facing similar resurgences. The chemicals most effective against the bugs, like DDT, have been largely banned, while today's bugs are resistant to many pesticides. The dramatic increase in international travel in recent decades may also be helping the bugs' comeback, the Christian Science Monitor reports. And people's attitudes changed during their decades-long absence, an expert says: "Back then, if you saw a bedbug, it was just a part of life. Now, you see a bedbug, and you shut down an entire store or a floor of an office building.” (Read more bedbugs stories.)