Don’t let the bed bugs bite was always a frightening thought when I was a kid. But today, it’s even scarier since bed bugs are back. The origin of this phrase is grounded in history, going back to a time when tiny bugs would live in wooden bed frames ready to feed on unsuspecting humans as they sleep. Many believed that bed bugs were thing of the past having been brought under control—and essentially eradicated in the U.S.—in part to the pesticide DDT. But now that DDT has been banned for more than three decades bed bugs are making a resurgence absent pesticide effective enough to zap them and thanks to increased global travel. The bugs can travel in your suit case, and apparently are even more creative as they recently have been reported to be found living in a cell phone.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently held a summit to discuss on what to do about the bed bug resurgence. And they should. This is a very good time to reconsider our approach to pesticide regulations. Not only is DDT gone, but many other useful products have been regulated out of existence without weighing the risks of not having them. And bed bugs are not the only pests that are re-surging and wreaking havoc.