August 31, 2010
MORE ON THE BEDBUGS’ RETURN. “Early remedies were risky: igniting gunpowder on mattresses or soaking them with gasoline, fumigating buildings with burning sulfur or cyanide gas. (The best-known brand was Zyklon B, which later became infamous at Auschwitz.) Success finally arrived in the 1950s as the bugs were hit first with DDT and then with malathion, diazinon, lindane, chlordane and dichlorovos, as resistance to each developed. In those days, mattresses were sprayed, DDT dust was sprinkled into the sheets, nurseries were lined with DDT-impregnated wallpaper. . . . The reasonable course, Dr. Goddard said, is to recognize that we are, in effect, back in the 1920s ‘Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite’ era. People should be aware, but not panicky.”
They told me if I voted for John McCain, America would be taken back to the 1920s. And they were right!
UPDATE: Reader Jay Brinker writes:
What a horribly defeatist article. The “future is grim” and we are “back in the ’20’s ” with no proffered solutions? Parsing the lines, apparently there are some pesticides that work, but we are not told what they are. I guess we are supposed to not ask questions and suffer through this plague. This is a perfect metaphor for the Obama age.
And another reader emails:
Our dear daughter just moved into another apartment after she and her roommates lived with bedbugs for eight months, keeping their clothes in plastic bags, getting rid of mattresses and getting others (didn’t work), having the landlord fumigate several times. She guessed the bugs lived in the walls and would be there forever in that old building in Chicago. She is relieved to be out of there.
I would be, too.