Bed bugs were a common pest before World War II. People were familiar with them in those days and did the right things to protect themselves. Due to the use of the pesticide DDT, bed bugs became much more rare.After World War II, we had a long period of time where we didn’t worry much about bed bugs. Since that time though, bed bug infestations are on the rise. Today we are in the middle of a full-blown resurgence.
So what exactly lead to the current bed bug resurgence?
The outlawing of DDT (The DDT Ban) in 1972.
DDT was banned by the US government December 31, 1972 after it was found to have an impact far beyond it’s application as a pesticide. In fact, the near extinction of the bald eagle has been attributed to DDT.
Although there are many new types of bed bug insecticides, they are not as effective as DDT was.
Bed bugs becoming more resistant to modern chemical treatments.
When bed bugs manage to survive modern chemical treatments and mate with other bugs that have also survived such treatments, the progeny is likely to be resistant as well. This leads to a larger number of highly-resistant bed bugs.
Higher numbers of people traveling internationally.
With airlines, international travel has become relatively widespread and common. The United States is a popular destination for travelers. Also, many companies in the United States conduct business with other countries and regularly need their employees to travel to other locations. The result is a high amount of inbound and outbound traffic.
Lack of bed bug awareness.
Reading through new stories you will often see a quote by somebody to the effect: “I didn’t even think bed bugs were real”. People simply do not believe that bed bugs exist or that they are a legitimate problem in the modern world.
There is also a perceived stigma attached to those that find themselves involved in a bed bug infestation. Because of this negative perception, people are often reluctant to openly discuss their bed bug experiences. This only serves to make the problem worse.
What can you do?
The best thing you can do is to protect yourself and to help spread the word.