With the invention of DDT, killing bed bugs became much simpler than it had ever been before. Prior to the discovery of the noxious chemical, hundreds of treatments were tried, with a fraction of the effectiveness.
Although DDT was originally synthesized in 1874 by a German student, it wasn’t recognized for its insecticidal properties until the 1930s. In fact, Swiss scientist Paul Müller won a Nobel prize (in 1948) for his contributions to discovering its many uses as a pesticide, which goes to show how big of a problem bed bug extermination was.
The success of DDT killing bed bugs was phenomenal. A single spraying would not only kill bed bugs and their eggs, but also protect against future infestations. Some people reported its effectiveness lasting for years beyond a single application. It was inexpensive and could be applied by anyone, even non-trained professionals. It was so potent it quickly became the gold standard of bed bug treatments.
Within years of DDT hitting the market, bed bugs were virtually eliminated. While bed bugs did develop some immunity, the chemical was too powerful for them to overcome. DDT, coupled with heightened awareness of the problem and slum clearance programs, dramatically aided in nearly total bed bug extermination.
It wasn’t until the 1970s and 80s that people began to respond to the negative impact DDT was having on the environment and human health. DDT was linked to multiple human deaths and is widely known to cause “egg thinning” – preventing eggshells of birds and reptiles to reach the thickness they need to survive – which wreaked havoc on ecosystems. During the 70s and 80s, many countries around the world banned the use of DDT, and subsequently, bed bug extermination became a lot more difficult.
Since the 80s, bed bugs have been experiencing a resurgence, due to the lack of chemicals that match the efficacy of DDT. That isn’t to say that bed bug extermination isn’t possible, merely that it’s more difficult than it used to be.
At Magical Pest Control, we use a variety of methods to kill bed bugs. These days, heat and freeze treatments are popular, effective and harmless to people and the environment. Various safe chemical treatments are available as well.
Please feel free to contact us, or call us at (905) 738-6676 for a free consultation over the phone. We’ll inspect your home and help determine what bed bug treatments would work best for you.