Bed bugs have been a pest to humankind well before the advent of civilization, but due to the introduction of insecticides and establishment of the private pest control industry during the mid 20th century, bed bugs were nearly eradicated from the United States in the early 1960s. Obviously, this bed bug absence did not last, as the bloodsucking pests resurfaced shortly before the turn of the millenium, and today, bed bugs are one of the most commonly controlled insect pests within homes.
The initial insecticides that eradicated bed bugs from the US for a period of time were banned several decades ago, but even if they were still legal they would be ineffective, as bed bugs have developed varying degrees of resistance to virtually all insecticide formulations that currently exist. Although the worthlessness of insecticides against bed bugs had been a serious problem for a little more than a decade following their resurgence, it is not much of an issue today. This is because modern pest control professionals practice “integrated pest management” (IPM), which focuses on chemical free pest control methods. While insecticides are still necessary to control pests in some situations, they are only used minimally, and always as a last resort.
Several non-chemical methods of bed bug control have been introduced, including high-heat treatments, freezing, and the use of industrial strength vacuums. High-heat treatments are considered the most effective method of bed bug control, but when it comes to heavy infestations, minimal insecticide applications are still sometimes necessary to eliminate the pests. Currently, pest control developers are working on new bed bug control methods, especially methods that attract bed bugs to bait stations using pheromone odors as lures. In fact, scientists have recently identified bed bug pheromones, but successfully synthesizing or reproducing these pheromones for use in traps and baits remains a challenge.
Have you ever battled a bed bug infestation within your home?