Courtenay Edelhart of Bakersfield, Calif. has been up all night, prepping the house for the exterminator. It's been a lot of work, removing all the clothes, bedding, linens, pillows, stuffed animals and fabric from the house. "I'm delirious with exhaustion," she says. But the effort has been worth it. Today, she's getting rid of the bedbugs.
Bedbugs -- flat, oval insects with a reddish-brown color -- hide in the cracks and crevices of mattress seams, bedsheets, sofas, baseboards and even picture frames. They mainly come out at night, to feed on you while you sleep. You can't feel the bites of these nocturnal pests until after they've finished their meal.
Initially Edelhart thought the itchy red bumps on her arms were mosquito bites. " I started putting on bug spray before walking the dog, but instead of helping, the bites got worse," she says. "One morning I'd wake up with one or two, the next day I'd have five or six, the next day I'd have eight or nine." After a while she noticed them on her legs, too.