With Bed Bug Plague 2010 raging on, entomologists are facing mounting pressure to figure out where the bugs come from and how the hell to kill them. And at this point, they're looking even more resilient than Twinkies. In an attempt to see if the bugs may be able to transmit disease, South African researchers fed the insects blood containing the AIDS virus. The virus died. Time to panic?
While we contemplate if anyone is attempting to research a possible bed bug-derived cure for AIDS, entomologists are trying to figure out how the bugs came back from being nearly eradicated in the first place. While the Times says the theory that we stopped using DDT doesn't hold because cockroaches and mosquitoes came back long before the bugs, there are other theories that could explain their growing American populations. Some believe that they came back when pest control companies stopped spraying for cockroaches in the 1980s, and switched to poisoned baits. Bed bugs won't eat the roach bait. Others believe they came from overseas, since they're found to be resistant to insecticides used on poultry.
In their attempt to find a legal, effective spray, many doctors have developed a hatred for environmentalists who worry about the harmful effects of insecticides. Bed bug historian Michael F. Potter said, “I’d like to take some of these groups and lock them in an apartment building full of bugs and see what they say then." That sounds like cruel and unusual punishment, which we're willing to inflict on anyone who gets in our way of getting rid of the suckers for good. Until then, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite, and listen to everything the CDC has to say.