There’s a problem in the nation’s war against those tiny, blood-sucking creatures known as bed bugs: “We know that there are people that can’t afford the services of a pest control company, and we need for them to be able to control the problem, as well. Right now that’s not possible,” Bob Rosenberg, senior vice president of the National Pest Management Association, told a group of pest-control experts at the first annual Bed Bug forum, taking place this week at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield (via 7News). In other words, expect pest controllers to seek government assistance for treating low-income homes, as well as for research. Some of the experts are even saying that bed bugs have reached “pandemic” levels.

Whatever the case, exterminators have noted a sharp uptick in people seeking help eliminating the bugs. As University of Kentucky researcher Michael Potter points out, bed bugs are the hardest pest to control. “Yes, they’re coming back. Infestation is inevitable. Infestation is unstoppable,” he says (via The Denver Post). They enter homes through secondhand furniture, clothes, even televisions and then make their way into beds, seeking the warmth of human bodies and the exhalations of carbon dioxide. Westword offers a few tips on how to avoid the infestation: Check your sheets for blood spots. Don’t bring in second-hand furniture, particularly mattresses, without a full inspection. Consider covering your suitcase in a large trash bag during visits to hotels, and vacuum suitcases when you return.