By Rich Kozlovich
What is the reality of bedbugs? We have them! We don’t want them! The numbers keep getting larger! They are spreading farther afield! The tools left to society don’t kill them! There are species of bedbug that are even more resistant to pesticides than the rest!
The average homeowner is faced with over the counter pesticides that don’t work or IPM or green pest control programs that are either largely ineffectual or prohibitively expensive when they work. The same is true of new technology, such as heat which absolutely works. The reality of bedbugs is this; chemistry was the answer in 1946 and it will be the answer in 2010! And it must be the answer. Why?
Let’s drop back to 1946. Before the introduction of DDT bedbugs were everywhere. After the introduction of DDT they weren’t. After resistance to DDT developed in bedbugs pest controllers changed to Malathion and other products that bedbugs were not resistant to. DDT did the heavy lifting, and Malathion knocked them out.
Those were the tools; that was the chemistry that worked. However, that isn’t the story. Why did those tools work so well? That is the real question! The answer is a combination of chemical efficacy and its availability to the general society. The real story is that DDT, Malathion and all the other life saving products introduced into society were available as Do It Yourself products. That is the real story, and that is the answer to the bedbug problem.
It wasn’t the professional pest control industry that eliminated bedbugs. We had a major role to play, but no professional program will work if the problem continues to persist in a general population that cannot afford to pay someone to do the job for them. The re-introduction rate will be unending. The poorest people must be able to address this by themselves, in their own homes. They are willing to do so because they are desperate to rid themselves of the pest plague. They just need the tools.
We need to stop this nonsense about IPM and green pest control being the “glue” that holds pest control together. We need to stop this nonsense about the theoretical risks the greenies are constantly yammering about. We, the professionals of pest control, are part of that thin gray line that are the defenders of public health. We need to stop crawling on our bellies as if we should be ashamed of who we are and what we do. We need to take the field and raise the Battle Standard for all to see. We need to get back up onto our hind legs and defend what we do, the products we use and demand that everyone else, including the EPA, do the same.
The reality is this; as long as the average person is left adrift with no way to care for themselves and their families, this problem will remain a major societal plague that will never go away. Bedbugs must absolutely be addressed at the lowest levels of the economic spectrum if we are to eliminate them once again. That can only be done with chemistry that works and at a cost that the average person can afford. DIY is what really eliminated bedbugs and effective inexpensive DIY products must be made available again.