Reasonable question – why are bed bugs an issue today? Aren’t we in the modern age? Surely modern science could get rid of these awful blood suckers!
Well, not so fast! The reason they are an issue today is BECAUSE of modern science. Yep, counter intuitive for sure but it’s the truth. The very same scientific advancements that just about wiped out bed bugs in the 50’s is the very reason they are such a problem today.
Here is some history –
Bed bugs have been an issue throughout the age of mankind. These parasites love to feed on human blood but will attach to other mammals in a pinch. Once they have a full blood meal, these little suckers can live over a year between feedings. Yes, more than a year without food!
During World War II, out of necessity, some massive scientific discoveries were made. More lethal poisons were created including some significant nerve gases. After the war, these inventions were not going to go to waste and a chemical revolution was brought to the masses. Perfect example was DDT – the heralded pesticide to change the world. And change the world, it did!
DDT actually won the Nobel Prize for Medicine as it was the newest, latest, greatest option to combat malaria, typhus and to wipe out crop pests. Colorless, odorless and tasteless, DDT was used everywhere almost overnight.
One of the major uses for DDT was to control bed bugs. They were practically wiped out and the nighttime rhyme became obsolete. (Night, night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!)
Then it all crashed when reality hit. DDT was poisoning the Earth! Species were pushed to the brink of extinction. Environmental disasters were all tied back to DDT as the Poster Child for science gone mad!
We’d moved to a standard of pest-free living and the chemical manufacturers were not going to go in reverse. Therefore, more and more synthetic pesticides were developed. Pyrethroids, neocotinoides, organophosphates, etc. sprung up to replace DDT. But there is a significant catch…
Any synthetic pesticide will ALWAYS lose effectiveness over time. (Scientific Phenomena known as Pesticide Resistance.) The solution for the chemical companies? Make them stronger, more lethal, more persistent, more toxic.
So stronger and stronger chemicals have been used to keep up the established level of control. Yet the bugs will always win over a synthetic concoction. Humans are exposed to greater levels of toxicity and the bugs have morphed into ‘Super Bugs’ able to withstand formulations unheard of just 15 years ago.
Which is why bed bugs are an issue today. They are immune to the synthetic poisons – no matter what strength. Yet the effect on humans of these toxins is devastating – increasing rates of Alzheimer’s, Autism, ADHD, and many other neuro-toxic diseases.
Short answer – bed bugs are an issue because they are immune to the synthetic poisons designed to control them.