Blood Sucker Nation

Bed bugs are back, thanks to environmentalists

by Jeffrey Tucker | Updated 28 Jul 2015 at 11:55 AM

bedbugs_thumbBed bugs don’t kill you, at least not immediately. But they can creep you out to the point of insanity.

When you are supposed to be relaxing from a hard day in the office, ready for a refreshing night’s sleep, you suddenly become aware that thousands of tiny insects could be feasting on your flesh for eight hours.

The evidence is there in the morning. Your back, sides, stomach, legs are covered in a red rash. It starts to heal in the course of the day, but it starts all over again at night. You get no real rest. Life becomes desperate and miserable. No wonder some people have been driven to suicide.

In the 1950s, capitalist countries had eliminated them. The socialist world, by contrast, faced an epidemic.

Thanks to modern pesticides, most especially DDT, generations have know nothing of the bed bug, in capitalist countries in any case. A Russian friend whose mother was explaining the difference between capitalism and socialism summed up in bed bugs. In the 1950s, capitalist countries eliminated them. The socialist world, by contrast, faced an epidemic.

Bed bugs are back with an amazing ferocity, right here in the U.S.A. There is a new book getting rave reviews and high sales: “Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World.” You can attend the BedBug University, which is  “an intensive four-day course that covers bed bug biology and behavior, treatment protocols and explores the unique legal challenges and business opportunities of bed bugs.” You can browse the BedBug Registry, with dozens of reports coming in from around the country. You can call a local company that specializes in keeping them at bay.

Welcome to the post-DDT world in which fear of pesticides displaced fear of the thing that pesticides took away. Oh, how glorious it is to embrace nature and all its ways — until nature begins to feed off your flesh. And your children’s flesh.

The restrictions and bans from the 1970s have gradually brought back the nightmares that killer chemicals took away.

Forget innovating new pesticides. The restrictions are just too tight. There is not a single product at your local big-box hardware store that can decisively deal with these blood suckers. And the products that more-or-less work that are available online, such as malathion, are not approved for indoor use (and I know for sure that everyone obeys such rules!).

The restrictions and bans from the 1970s have gradually brought back the nightmares that killer chemicals took away.

In our current greeny ethos, people are suggesting natural methods. “Take all of your laundry and bedding to the laundromat and wash and dry it at high temperatures.” Why not do it at home? Well, thanks to federal regulations, your water heater has a high temperature of 110 degrees, which is something like a luxurious bath for the bed bug. Add your detergent from which phosphates have been removed by regulatory controls, and your wash turns into Mr. Bubble happy time for Mr. Bed Bug.

So you could stand over huge roiling pots of boiling water in your kitchen, fishing bedding in and out, beating your mattresses outside with sticks, and otherwise in sleeping plastic bags, like they do in the new season of “Orange in the New Black.” You know, like in prison.

No matter how modernized we become, no matter how many smartphones and tablets we acquire, we still have to deal with the problem of nature and, in particular, its most wicked part, the man-eating insect. There is no app for that.

Google how many people die from mosquitos, and you are immediately struck by the ghastly reality: These things are more deadly than even government. And that’s saying something.

It gets worse each year, especially during summer when the bed bugs leave their winter hibernation and gather en masse to become our true and living nightmare.

So here we are, mystified, afraid to lie down and sleep, afraid to buy a sofa from Craigslist, boiling our sheets, living in fear of things we can’t see. It’s the Dark Ages again.

How bad does it have to get before we again unleash the creative forces of science and capitalism to restore a world that is livable for human beings?

Many local companies specialize in bed bug destruction. The ones that are “eco-friendly” arrive with massive heating equipment. They heat your entire home to 150 degrees. True. Bed bugs die under those conditions. Probably your houseplants die too. And your candles melt. And this process can’t be good for wood.

So here we are, mystified, afraid to lie down and sleep, afraid to buy a sofa from Craigslist, boiling our sheets, living in fear of things we can’t see. It’s the Dark Ages again.

How does heating your home prevent future infestations? Maybe this crop of bed bugs will be known as the “lost generation,” before and after they thrive again.

The only product I know of (after talking to many professionals) that seems to work is the chemical malathion. I know it says don’t use it indoors. But you must. Also, this is a much more permanent solution, especially if you use it outdoors and in the basement, too. Yes, your house will smell. But at least it will not be the breeding grounds of flesh-eating bug armies.

And yes, wash everything in boiling pots of water.

This, my friends, is the world that government regulations have given us. We wanted nature? We wanted the environment to prevail? It has and this is what we get.

In the end, we have to decide. It’s them or us.

Jeffrey Tucker is director of Digital Development for FEE.org, CLO of Liberty.me, and author of six books.

 

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