Part 1 of the Why, How, Who, When & Where series on Bed Bugs…
I Googled Bed Bug and got 1,150,000 search results! Trying to absorb the web of information regarding this newest and most disgusting of annoyances has resulted in my little blog about bed bugs turning into a 5 part series. Hopefully, by breaking it down and keeping it simple, I am able to help with a problem that will stay with us for the foreseeable future.
WHY are Bed Bugs suddenly so prevalent?
The truth is that bed bugs exist in American literature as far back as the early 1700s. It is suspected that they arrived on infested sailing vessels from Europe. The Bed Bug epidemic, therefore, is not a new phenomenon, just a recurring one that has probably been around for centuries. They just took a little break from the mid 20th century until now.
WHY if we were able to all but eliminate them, are they here now?
The most direct and frightening answer I got for the “why?” question is that the elimination of the use of DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) has brought the Bed Bug curse back. Before the use of DDT, Bed Bugs were just another daily life annoyance that folks dealt with as a matter of course. There is a very interesting report on the EPA website, DDT Regulatory History: A Brief Survey (to 1975), which I recommend if you are interested in the long version. For brevity’s sake I will summarize my take on the situation.
DDT was widely used as an effective control for such diseases as typhus and malaria. According to the EPA, approximately 1,350,000,000 pounds of DDT was used in the United States during the 30 years prior to its cancellation as an effective and cost efficient tool in both agricultural and commercial pest control. Well, I’m thinking that much pesticide should kill just about anything…and that should be a concern. A wide and varied array of reports ensued and eventually, in 1973 a court ruled that there was “substantial evidence” to support the EPA Administrator’s ban on DDT.
My conclusion, therefore, is that short of having the exterminator drop by and spray DDT or a similar toxic potion around the home, bed bugs are here to stay and precautionary measures need to be employed to protect your bedding, home, and family from Bed Bugs.
Who is at risk? Stay in touch for part 2 of Thebeddingsnob’s 5 part Bed Bug Series!