When news broke about a bedbug outbreak in his native South Korea, 29-year-old blockchain engineer and self-professed insectophobe Kang Jae-gu got straight to work — on the data.

As authorities scrambled to install high-temperature steam heaters at the airport and approve industrial-strength insecticides for home use, Kang started mapping out reported infestations.

South Korea has been largely bedbug-free for years, but it has seen a surge in infestations as travel rebounded after the pandemic. More than 100 cases have been reported since late November, official statistics show.