While Captain Planet is successfully battling an army of toxic boll weevils, us mortals have another nasty bug problem on our hands: The largest bedbug outbreak since World War II.

Although the government has taken notice of the rise of these mattress-dwelling bloodsuckers, some eco-superpowers from Captain P would sure be nice right about now. The EPA restricted the use of several effective bedbug pesticides in the 80s for (good) environmental and health reasons but the critters have become immune to the current pesticides on the market.

New legislation introduced last month by congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), The Don’t Let Bedbugs Bite Act of 2009, would increase training (to the tune of $50 million a year) for health inspectors on the hunt for bedbugs, particularly within the hotel industry. According to Yahoo News, it will also “require public housing agencies to submit bedbug inspection plans to the federal government. It would add bedbugs to a rodent and cockroach program in the Department of Health and Human Services. It also would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research bedbugs' impact on public mental health.”

Although the government’s new focus on bedbug education and prevention is a wonderful start to combating the problem, experts believe that a new, effective chemical insecticide may be key in providing relief to distressed bedbug victims that are “ready to blow their brains out,” according to expert Michael Potter.

So I ask: To spray or not to spray? Are the steps outlined by the new bedbug legislation enough or should they be focused more of decidedly un-green chemical warfare? There are several eco-friendly ways (I'd love to hear your experiences with alternative, non-chem methods) to prevent/kill bedbugs but are the big guns needed for this daunting task?

Via [Yahoo News]

Photo: Gravyboats

See also:

How to kill bed bugs

Bed bugs: An irritating epidemic

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.