Bedbug Assault Looms, Do We DIY DDT? — Experts are predicting an bedbug explosion this summer so is it time to sneer in the face of the enviro-Nazis; invoke the spirt of Walter Steuber and follow the Delaware County tradition of homebrewing our own dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane?
Steuber was a chemist who in the final days of World War II made DDT in the basement of his Swarthmore home. The desirable insecticide had been exclusively for military use and when it popped up for sale at two hardware stores in Media and Swarthmore the authorities investigated. When it was found that Steuber was not using priority chemicals, the government allowed civilians access to the near-miracle stuff.
And this led to the almost complete eradication of bedbugs in the USA.
Which have now made a comeback.
So do we start moonshining the stuff while petitioning our elected officials to rescind the 1972 DDT ban?
Probably best not.
While the near-absolute ban on the chemical strikes many as being irrational, emotion-driven and quasi-religious — especially given as to how DDT was indiscriminately misused and highly abused during its heyday — bedbugs seem to have maintained the resistance they have developed to it.
So using it wouldn’t do much good.
There is, however, an effective anti-bedbug insecticide, propoxur, that was pulled from the market after its manufacturer declined to spend several millions of dollars on testing the EPA was demanding .
Apparently, the EPA is concerned about toxicity to children after chronic exposure. One wonders exactly how much “chronic exposure” children would receive if it were restricted to hotels and such which are a major source of the spreading of the infestation.
Freeing propoxur, which was sold as Baygon , would be something about which to petition our elected officials.
In the meantime, here is a link to the EPA search engine of pesticides that it claims are safe and might have an effect on bedbugs.