It’s time to bring out big guns in fight against bedbugs

Bedbugs are running amok.

Yup, the nasty little six-legged vermin are everywhere.

They’s infesting the oh-so tony Upper East Side of Manhattan and might even have roamed as far as the port authority territory to the south. Whether they have designs on Park51 — aka “the mosque” — is open to question, there being the possibility that there are places even bedbugs won’t infest, but little else has stood in the way of the insects’ relentless march.

A year ago, the Denver Public Library found itself infested when an avid reader dropped off the tomes he had completed. Turned out that his reading material was appetizing enough for bedbugs, which then hitched a ride on the books to new horizons.

No word on whether the critters preferred “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe” or “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” though perhaps neither was enough to satisfy their literary tastes. (Actually, some rare books had to be destroyed. Sadly, one of them was not “Silent Spring.”)

Bedbugs evidently liked what they learned at libraries as they have now settled into libraries in Ohio.

Library employees in Cincinnati are on the lookout for bedbugs and have established a protocol.

The library has fumigated and librarians have quarantined books. Infested furniture is destroyed and discarded.

Back in Denver, meanwhile, it turns out that the library was just the beginning.

The Mile High City is a particular favorite of the little munchers, at least according to the pest control company, Terminix.

As one might imagine, New York tops the list of favorite bedbug cities, followed closely by Philadelphia; Detroit (at least something likes it); the aforementioned Cincinnati, home of the nation’s most literate bedbugs; Chicago; Denver; Columbus, Ohio and Dayton, Ohio. (What is it with Ohio anyway? And how did Cleveland stay off this list? Oops, it’s No. 14.)

Washington, D.C., and L.A. round out the top 10 lands of the equivalent of bedbug milk and honey.

What’s driving the bedbugs up the walls and into the mattresses of the most rich and powerful in our urban centers is the wrong question.

The right question is, what’s not standing in their way?

The answer boils down to three letters: DDT.

The insecticide has been banned now for five decades, which has given the buggers plenty of time to rejuvenate. Rejuvenate they have done with a vengeance.

The cost of the infestations is growing high, as demonstrated by the closure this summer of a Victoria’s Secret in Manhattan as a result of the little brown plague.

Given the inability of even the best of other pesticides to put a dent in the bedbug horde, it won’t be long before some of the nation’s crustiest of the upper crust thrust their pockmarked arms into the air to demand that somebody do something.

“Something” has only one workable definition: DDT.

The stuff kills bugs, no doubt about it. Ask an African.

Oh wait, that’s difficult to do because thousands of Africans die of malaria every year as a result of the worldwide ban on DDT, which exists so that the Manhattan Upper Crust can feel good about itself.

But if there’s a black market in DDT, you can make book on it being centered somewhere near 23rd and Lex.

It’s time to bring DDT out of the shadows and back into the light, where it can be used to fend off the bedbug and let our most enlightened back into their bedrooms to sleep without fear of becoming an insect’s entree.

Even better, it might save the lives of thousands in Africa, which really ought to be the point, but we’ll take progress however we can get it.


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