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Abandon All Hope

Posted: November 6th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , | No Comments »

We have discussed the futility of DDT nostalgia.  So when is the next, prescription big bad pesticide going to come down the pike whose title makes a really good band name?

According to CNN, not going to happen.  The bedbug epidemic may be fattening the wallets of exterminators, but apparently research into an effective pesticide for killing them is not a cost effective measure for the companies that do that sort of thing, namely huge chemical companies that manufacture pesticides for agriculture and outdoor use.  Research and development on new insecticides runs into the 100s of millions and requires decades of testing.  Yikes.

According to the article, government funding can help spur research in a case like this.  Bedbugs clearly need a government representative.  Maybe someone can give them to John Boehner!

Click here to read  more and see a video of a really cute bedbug sniffing dog.



How Do Bedbugs Feel About the Midterm Elections?

Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Did the bedbugs of America get up to feed Wednesday morning and start muttering amongst themselves about politics? Are they even particularly invested in the political process in terms of maintaining their survival?  Are bedbugs greedy welfare queens, doing nothing but having litters of little bedbugs and sucking your life blood after you work hard all day, damn it?

Bedbugs are the closest thing we have to an equal opportunity pest. They are a uniter, not a divider. They care not whether you support fetal minimum wage or whether you ride tax loopholes or an immigrant all the way to the bank. They’ll bite you anyway, if they happen to squeak their way into your home, by hitching a ride on the instep of your Louboutins or popping out of the baseboard thanks to a rowdy infestation in the studio apartment next door. We all can agree that they are not America’s Favorite Houseguest. We’d all happily vote for bedbug interment camps if we could. We are not for genocide, mind you,  just insecticide.

There has been some speculation that the tightening of environmental regulations, including the 1972 ban on DDT, have paved the way for the rise of the bedbug. Are bedbugs the fault of namby pamby liberals who want everyone living in a safe but bland nanny state? This Newsweek article points out that bedbugs actually developed a resistance to DDT prior to the ban, so it’s a bit of a moot point. ““Bloggers talk about bringing back DDT,” says Bob Rosenberg, director of government affairs for the National Pest Management Association, “but we had stopped using it even before 1972.””

However, they bring up other regulatory concerns when it comes to bedbugs. In 2002, Diazinon was banned for indoor use, despite still being effective after other entire classes of pesticides had become largely useless.

According to Dini Miller, an entomologist at Virginia Tech, the holy grail of pesticides is “something that you can spray on the floor and two months later a bug will pick up a lethal dose from walking across it.” Most current pesticides need to be applied nearly directly to the bug to be effective.

Propoxur seemed to be a solid bet, but when the EPA asked for more safety data in 2007, the manufacturer simply pulled it from the residential market. Per the article, “As a political matter, you face the awkward fact that several of the key decisions, in 2002 and 2007, were taken under the auspices of the famously antiregulatory Bush administration.”

Last year the EPA refused the bedbug-stricken state of Ohio’s request for an emergency exemption from the ban on Propoxur, basing their rejection on the potential unstudied danger to children in a home. Apparently the agency is still considering making it available on an emergency basis if special precautions for children are followed.

There are no new chemicals in the pipeline, and, as Miller points out, companies looking at a 10-year testing and approval process costing as much as $200 million aren’t lining up to produce one. The big profits in pesticides are in crops and lawns, and research money, such as it is, mostly goes to mosquitoes. Bedbugs suffer—or, from their point of view, benefit—from the fact that they are merely household pests and don’t transmit disease. Miller, in jest, says she sometimes wishes they did.

So, bedbugs, it looks like you may be off the hook for now. Even an overnight sea change in government can’t alter the fact that research still needs to be done. It’s unlikely that the patent and testing and approval process will be dismantled overnight, especially not in a congress split between red and blue control.

Or maybe bedbugs will in fact turn out to be the new WPA as infestations spread. Job creation! Ahem. Not that we do this for a living or anything. Come forth, ye unemployed, don a headlamp and grab your contractor bags and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol. The government will pay you a shiny hay penny per bedbug head. You’d be wise to convert that to gold, ASAP.



To DDT or not to DDT…

Posted: October 12th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

If this is the source of your information, mind you have doubts.  About a lot of things.  But you might also be thinking that it is a good time to bring back DDT. This viewpoint is not solely the province of right wing haters of environmentalists, birds, and people with beards,  Howard Stern has also succinctly delivered his views on the subject:

“they gotta bring back DDT. Stop being a bunch of pussies.”

While we do not have definitive proof of a link between DDT and cancer, there is evidence to suggest a increased risk of breast cancer due to DDT exposure.  The treehuggers over at Duke University also have a summary of the toxic effects of DDT on organisms.

In terms of fighting bedbugs, the point is likely moot, since bedbugs appear to have become largely resistant to DDT.

But Howard has a point, as a collective society we are  “being a bunch of pussies”.  I intend to do my part to stop such meowing around, and fix myself a Mickey Slim.*

*I have absolutely zero intention of doing this and neither should you.  Mrrow!