It was always sweet when mom used to say stuff like, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite." Like you really had a choice in the matter. Nobody in the history of beds or bugs has ever actually wanted those pesky little bloodsuckers chawing away on their skin all night. But, inevitably, it can happen.
In case you aren't an aspiring Gil Grissom, bed bugs are the common name for Cimex lectularius, a flat, louse-like insect that lives off the blood of other animals. Because they're so dark, they can be hard to spot, especially when hiding under furniture or in dark corners of your hotel room or hostel bunk. And while they don't transmit any diseases, they can leave nasty, itchy bites that are at best highly uncomfortable, and at worst leave you boiling all your clothes as soon as you get home.