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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A PLAGUE OF BEDBUGS

"Sleep tight!"

When I wrote about bedbugs over three years ago I figured it was an interesting quick post and moved on. I focused mostly on the lawsuit angle, and interestingly enough over the years I've gotten 3 comments, all from Australia complaining about bedbugs they got in hotels there. I did note, though, that the pest was increasing in numbers:
As it turns out, bedbugs are resurging, they used to be all but destroyed in America but environmental concerns have actually caused this to happen. Sprays and other pesticides have been so criticized and legislated out of favor that alternative attempts to control bugs aren't doing the job any more. This is exacerbated by travelers from nations where the pest has not been so suppressed.
As a result, the little critters are multiplying and spreading, and now people are starting to notice. These pests aren't just in fleabag motels any longer, according to Jonathan Strong at The Daily Caller:
Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband. Bed bugs are biting everybody out there – in recent weeks invading the headquarters of CNN, Elle magazine and a popular movie theater in Times Square.

While worst in the Northeast and especially New York City, blood-sucking bed bugs are making a remarkably rapid resurgence worldwide.
Why this epidemic? As I noted, the environmental concerns caused old style methods of reducing their numbers to be banned. In 1996, Malathion and Propoxur were both banned by law, and that was the exact time that bedbugs started to spread again. Until that point, back to around World War 2, they were all but wiped out in America. Now they're getting so bad they're invading posh corporate headquarters.

According to Donald G MacNiel jr writing in the New York Times, no one can figure out why this sudden plague of bedbugs has arisen:
Ask any expert why the bugs disappeared for 40 years, why they came roaring back in the late 1990s, even why they do not spread disease, and you hear one answer: “Good question.”
My guess is they asked an EPA lefty because the correlation is difficult to miss. Bedbugs are very resistant to most chemical poisons, including DDT. The ones that were banned worked. Another one that worked was Zyklon B cyanide gas.

Eventually even the New York Times' "experts" will figure out that maybe it might not be a bad idea to use what worked in the past. Until then people will just have to put up with the annoyance. Bedbugs rarely carry disease, and their bites are little more than an itchy annoyance, but who wants that?

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