I started to respond in a comment to Bugzinthehood’s article below, about Brent Herbert’s ideas about Bedbugs evolving into trash-eaters, and as it became longer than the original post, I decided I’d better move it here. I have to say, Brent Herbert is off on these other issues, and I am getting a bit tired of the misinformation he’s spreading. Or perhaps misinformation is the wrong word–they’re opinions. But when people act on them, it’s bad news.
Bed bugs eat blood. That’s all they eat. They’ve been eating blood since the Herbert family was living in a cave. Maybe longer. They’re not going to evolve into cockroaches, as you say, not within millions of years. Anyone who is hoping this will happen needs to go back and do some reading about evolution.
I don’t think Brent is an Aussie at all. He’s posted on Indymedia sites in Portland and NYC as well as Melbourne. And these are not his websites, they’re Indymedia affiliates, where citizen journalists can publish their articles. One reader suggested that Indymedia doesn’t have much credibility, but that’s irrelevant. When people google “bed bugs” looking for treatment protocols, it isn’t hard to find his articles. I have nothing against Brent Herbert personally, and I think that like many of us, he’s trying to be creative in dealing with a difficult situation that can seem nearly impossible to eradicate. Like many of us, he’s also worried about the environmental effects of pesticides as well as their effects on individuals.
Most of his posts argue something along the following lines: conventional pesticides require several applications, they’re worthless, and also dangerous, and therefore we should forego them entirely. Instead we should isolate our beds, which will starve the bed bugs who will then go to the next home and bite our neighbors instead.
There’s so much inaccuracy there, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve responded on Indymedia to the NYC and Portland posts, and here on our blog, explaining that if you do not use currently available pesticides, your bed bugs will not walk away from your home. They will not get hungry and leave. They will bite you in the daytime at your desk or chair, and they will even run up your leg while you stand. They will live, hungrily, for a year, maybe more, in your home, trying to bite you. Each time they succeed, they’ll either grow, or multiply.
Bed Bug World Domination
Meanwhile, they will spread to others around you, who will use the same pesticides, in large quantities, to try and get rid of them. As your neighbors get them, they may come back to you. Meanwhile, your goal of avoiding damaging the environment or your health with dangerous pesticides was not met, since now multiple neighbors are having to spray the same. Since you refuse to responsibly eliminate your bed bugs, wrongly thinking they’ll go away in time, you’ll cause a lot of suffering. If pesticides are bad for people and the environment, you’ll cause much more of them to be used.
Yes, the current pesticides to fight bedbugs are not perfect. They leave a lot to be desired. They have to be used repeatedly. Experts say there are some pesticide-resistant bed bugs. But I have not heard yet of a case where a bed bug infestation could not be eliminated, if persistently treated. The exception to this is where you have a multi-unit building, where the bugs can keep coming back from other units. Especially if some of your neighbors refuse to use pesticides on their bed bugs… That’s probably a much bigger problem than pesticide-resistance. People in this situation can’t eliminate their bed bugs. With a Brent Herbert next door, you’ll be spraying pesticides indefinitely, to no avail.
The alternative to using currently available pesticides is to let the problem grow. Period. Don’t kid yourself.