A jar of bedbugs
A jar of bedbugs - 
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Steve Chiotakis: The United States faces an enemy it hasn't seen in more than 50 years: bedbugs. The invasion is so bad, the Environmental Protection Agency is getting involved. Joel Rose reports.

Joel Rose: After World War II, bedbugs were basically eradicated from the U.S. Not anymore. The little brown pests have turned up in college dorm, apartments, hospitals -- even high-end hotels.

Greg Baumann: They're elusive. They can get in cracks and walls very easily. They're a flat bug. They're transient. They're great hitchhikers.

Greg Baumann is a senior scientist at the National Pest Management Association. He spoke to me from the EPA's bedbug summit in Virginia, which brings experts and industry together to talk about the problem.

Over the years, the EPA has pulled many of the most potent chemicals off the shelves because of environmental concerns. Baumann says pest managers can still kill the bugs, but the public needs to be patient.

Baumann: This is not a magic thing. This could take several visits.

EPA officials hope to come up with a new plan of attack before the summit wraps up today.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.