Consultations over bedbugs in Tokyo and Osaka have surged this year to hit their highest numbers on record, according to pest control associations in the two prefectures, with experts warning that infestations are spreading nationwide.

The sudden resurgence of the bloodsucking pests in Japan follows reports of similar outbreaks in countries like South Korea and France, raising alarm among the public as domestic and international travel rebounds following the coronavirus pandemic.

Bedbugs, which are around 5 millimeters long and nocturnal relatives of the stink bug, hide in cracks and gaps in furniture during the day, coming out to feed on humans at night. Their bites can trigger an allergic reaction in some people, resulting in intensely itchy welts.