DDT And Bed Bugs

These parasites were prolific until we began using DDT on them. Our past pest control practices nearly wiped away the existence of bed bugs. DDT had a very long residual control period. Common practice for pest control was to apply a continual pesticide barrier sprayed inside and outside of your home. Due to the long lasting effects of these pesticides, bed bugs didn’t have much of a chance.

Pyrethroids Replacing DDT

Most of the pesticides used during this period have been banned. One of the reasons is because of the persistence in our environment. DDT, Organophosphates and Carbamates were common pesticides that are now banned or restricted. Pyrethroids were developed to take their place in the retail market. The best example of timing is bifenthrin. This is the active ingredient in the well known “Ortho Home Defense”. Bifenthrin was introduced in 1985. To this day, pyrethroids are the main pesticide available to home owners.

The Introduction Of Cockroach and Ant Gel Baits

From this time until the early 1990’s it was common practice to spray the interior of your home with pesticides (pyrethroids). Basically, we would maintain a pesticide barrier along baseboards, and around windows and doors. Things changed once cockroach and ant baits were introduced into the market. Gel baits, in particular, changed our pest control methods. Integrated pest management made big strides at this time. We were able to control ants and cockroaches without the use of these pesticide spray barriers.

While this was great for our health, it was also great for bed bugs. Unknowingly, we took our defenses down. The consistent pesticide barriers that were in our homes were replaced by safer control methods. Nowadays, pest controllers utilize baits and products that are made to be applied to cracks and crevices. The old ways of spraying baseboards still lingers. Yet most of us are health conscious, and like to reduce pesticide use indoors whenever possible.

Factors Contributing To The Return Of Bed Bugs

Without a consistent spray barrier bed bugs returned to our homes. Ant and cockroach gel baits came out in the early 1990’s. Bed bugs came back from near extinction soon after. Likely there are other factors that contributed to bed bugs returning. Increased international travel was a significant factor also. We also didn’t have much support in the way of public education. The public just wasn’t properly prepared for the outbreak.

You could also go the conspiracy route. Pesticides are made by huge companies. Most are pharmaceutical companies. It is only logical to release a super bug into the population at the same time they are releasing a substitute for indoor spraying. Just imagine how many bed bug control kits get swept off the shelves. Bed bugs do not spread disease and are not a threat to people that can afford treatment. Not saying this was the case, but there is a logical argument to be made.