“The next day, there were no bed bugs… the soldiers had not been bitten the night before”

There is so much of interest in this excerpt from the documentary, The Greatest Generation and the Modern Pesticide Revolution, available at pctonline.tv, but you might especially appreciate the story from Dr. John Osmun recalling his service days as the entomologist on post at Camp Gordon in Georgia during WWII:

The video would not embed properly so click here to see it, pest Control during WWII, from The Greatest Generation and The Modern Pesticide Revolution

Dr. Osmun established the urban entomology program at Purdue.

Notice how they tried superheating? Among other things! None of them worked.

And Gesarol? Who knew!?

Our interest in this subject is apparently limitless despite the fact that we consider it a dead-end.

Personally, I enjoy looking back and I don’t mind even a little nostalgia. We’ve long understood that nothing like Gesarol is “coming back” or on the horizon and that the real solutions available to us are difficult ones, education and coordinated action.

The Greatest Generation and the Modern Pesticide Revolution was produced by David Fincannon and Phi Chi Omega. The excerpt above also features interviews with Emille Pappas, Lonnie Holder and Jim Steckel. (Perhaps, like me, you’ll enjoy hearing about how the Queen Mary was sealed for fumigation.) A second DVD excerpt, also at pctonline.tv, features Harry Katz and John Osmun recalling J.J. Davis (Purdue) and Bill Buettner (National Pest Control Association)—we learn what Buettner thought about DDT and the future of the pest control industry and we learn that pest control, like undertaking, was a “war-time essential” service.

Via PCT.


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  2. Jane

    I strongly believe steam is the easiest/cheapest/only non toxic remedy for
    bed bugs. A cheap refurbished steamer will work, although a better
    quality could be more efficient. I have not tried a hair dryer but have
    steam pressed my sheets. Next cleaning with higher concentration
    murphy’s oil soap then dusting with diatomaceous earth with prethrin (“Results’). I live in an old building and have little money.
    I have all mattresses in plastic tarp and pillows in 99c store encasements.
    I would appreciate comments or criticisms.

  3. Renee Corea

    Jane, I also believe that a dry vapor steamer is potentially one of the most useful tools available to people. I think it’s important to persist: repeat treatments at regular intervals until you achieve zero bed bugs. It’s certainly possible. Good for you for being resourceful and not giving up. (I’m not sure about the hair dryer though.)

    I would like to suggest to you that you consider a well-planned and executed sealing campaign. You need a high quality elastomeric sealant (not regular caulk, look for sealant somewhere on the label — DAP Dynaflex 230 appears to be a good choice, though the clear one is known to shrink). So, sealing the baseboards and any potential harborage sites, cracks and crevices in the apartment and in your furniture would add immeasurably to your chances of beating this soon. I hope. Make sure all pipe fittings have escutcheons that are properly sealed as well. And don’t overlook radiators and gaps around heat pipes.

    The only other thing is to inspect regularly for tears in the plastic encasements. This is a frequent problem but I hope you can be on top of it.

    In NYC landlords are responsible for pest control. If you live in NYC, I thought I would mention it. In buildings, the problem of adjoining apartments usually cannot be addressed without the involvement of the landlord.

  4. Jane

    I do live in NY. One day I got the nerve to get the building pest control to visit. Because i had done my job the fellow found no evidence of bugs. I did show him several in a jar and suddenly got his attention. He said he would pass it on to management but warned me it was expensive and they might not do it. This was months ago and I never again heard a word about it. The pest controller seemed to have a faulty memory (he was 60 yrs, undergoing chemo but had to work to support his kids in university. he did make notes but kept forgetting where he was going next) so, as usual in NY, nothing is clear. The TD Eaton 2 spray seems to the bugs work (artificial pyrethrin 3x power). I will make a homemade dry ice detector if i can find the materials. I have a relative that will visit in 2 months so this must come to an end asap .

  5. Renee Corea

    Whether or not the pest control professional gave you incorrect information, the fact is that the landlord is responsible for pest control in the building.

    Professional pest control services can help you eradicate what seems like a long-standing infestation. Of course, the adjacent apartments would have to be inspected and monitored.

    Your applications of bed bug sprays may not eradicate the infestation as it takes skill and patience to apply products correctly. Many products only kill the bed bugs they contact directly.

  6. marcusmichelsen

    Hello so the best way to get rid of these cryptic bugs is #1 steam dry steam mculuch
    Sells a 212f dry steamer for 89.99 and also get a shop vac that has like 6.5 horse power
    Motor,and you got to town.one person steaming, all base boards bedding and floor
    Space, and the other person using the shop vac. You need to be careful with the vac
    And make sure between uses it cleaned using hot water. Due to eggs and such. Also
    ipa alcohol stuff that is at least 90% kills on contact. After you steam and suck and steam
    And suck. Spray the ipa,all in your base boards and cracks and crevices,and dust with the
    De. Wait 10 to 13 days and vacuum thourghly again and that should take care of it.
    Of course it depends on how bad you problem is.its very important to encase All mattresses
    In the house, and all pillows in the house. And all clothes must be dried on high
    Setting of the dryer, and bagged after the dryer. At a minimum of 20 minutes in the dryer
    The ipa can be sprayed on bedroom sets it may smell a little,but it evaporates fast.
    But it really is about the steam and vacuuming. You can spray your shop vac with the ipa
    And also leaving it out in the hot sun does the trick. Also making your bed an island
    Is a great thing any ares that touched th floor two sided carpet tape catches every
    Thing. and as long as your bedding isn’t on the floor and you put the tape on all
    Contact points of your bed,head board castors etc. They will not get to you. Using
    The steamer and the hi powered shop vac on you mattress before encasement is also
    A really good idea.

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