When my children were growing up, we kept a long-standing tradition from my wife's family of telling our children at bedtime: "Sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite." We never had trouble with the bedbugs ourselves, but were assured that this used to be a major problem. However, according to an article in today's Knoxville News Sentinel, the bedbugs are back. They had been absent from the United States since about the time of World War II and many people thought they were just an old fable, but they are quickly making a comeback. These small insects feed exclusively on the blood of animals and humans causing itchy red welts with their bites and they are extremely difficult to exterminate.
The comeback has been blamed on several factors. Increased international travel may be bringing them in by way of infested luggage and clothes. Environmental concerns have cut back on pest control practices in this country. Less toxic chemicals are being used and spraying is much more limited. Another possibility is that people are lowering their standards of cleanliness. A fight with bedbugs can be a miserable experience. One man gave up after a seven month battle that included using bug bombs and tossing out his bedroom furniture and finally moved from New York back to his native Memphis. The Bible speaks often of God sending judgment by way of pestilence (for example, Exodus 9:15). We might do well to notice the "pest" in "pestilence."