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Do Bed Bug Sprays Really Work?
Posted At: January 24, 2014 12:55 PM | Posted By : admin
Related Categories: CUSTOMER TREATMENT OPTIONS,NATIONAL NEWS,LOCAL NEWS & INFO

Do Bed Bug Sprays Really Work?

YES?  NO?  MAYBE?


WORDS OF WISDOM:
Bed bugs should be ELIMINATED not TREATED.
Many companies sell bed bugs sprays, bed bug repellants, bed bug bombs and bed bug fogger's.
Bed Bug Sprays:  Most bed bug sprays kill on contact.  But than again so will a fly swatter.  It's the one's that you don't directly spray that will continue the cycle.
Bed Bug Repellants:  The definition of repel is to 
drive or force (an attack or attacker) back or away.  If you repel bed bugs, they will just come back or move to another room.
Bed Bug Bombs and Foggers They do not work. 
“Based on our findings, bug bombs should not be used for crawling insects such as bed bugs,” says lead researcher Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., an associate professor at the university. “These products shouldn’t even be labeled for bed bugs.”

Curious, read on:

Update: 1/24/14:  Be sure to read the fine print and disclaimers on do it yourself bed bug sprays.  Here is just one example of a disclaimer for a do-it-yourself bed bug product.

BEDBUGS

"No refunds on bed bug products. Eliminating bed bugs requires additional control steps other than just using insecticides to eliminate the problem. Removing clutter, washing all clothing in hot water and placing in a hot dryer, are important steps required for treatment. Bed bug control requires knowledge, encasing beds at the right time during treatment, vacuuming as well as detailed inspections of all wall hangings, draperies, furniture and more. Failure to do any one of these steps plus more makes it difficult for any EPA registered insecticide to overcome a bed bug infestation. For more information on the additional steps necessary for bed bug control, visit the Environmental Protection Agency web site."

The EPA website states:

  • Getting a pest management professional (PMP) involved as soon as possible rather than taking time to try to treat the problem yourself can be very effective at preventing further infestations. Each pest management company should have instructions for residents on how to prepare the unit for a treatment, which will include laundering and cleaning.

  • Treating bed bugs is complex. The PMP should be experienced in treating bed bug infestations. Check the company’s credentials.

  • The PMP will inspect your residence, take apart furniture if necessary and use vacuums, heat treatment and pesticides to treat the infestation.

Update:  8/15/13: Bedbug repellent maker feels sting of U.S. government over ad claims

Chemical Free Solutions erroneously claimed its "Best Yet!" cedar oil products would get rid of bed bugs and lice. The company was fined $185,206 and its former owner was fined $4.6 million.

The New York Daily News reports that a company that makes a cedar-based product it says repels bed bugs and head lice felt the bite of the U.S. government on Tuesday when it agreed to settle charges that its products have not been proven to work as promised.

Chemical Free Solutions LLC, which was previously controlled by Dave Glassel, had been accused of being deceptive in advertising that its "Best Yet!" brand cedar oil products would get rid of lice and bed bugs, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said.

If your bed is infested with bed bugs, the "Best Yet!" brand cedar oil products might not actually be your best bet.The Best Yet! products had also been advertised as having been invented for the U.S. Army, among other incorrect statements, the FTC said.

The company is barred from making any claims about the effectiveness of their products unless it is able to produce scientific evidence to back it up.

Update:  7/16/13:  Apparently even the FTC agrees.  Curious, read on:

The Federal Trade Commission said today, 7/16/13, that it reached a settlement with two companies marketing unproven remedies for bed bugs over deceptive advertising.

The commission filed charges last year against the marketer of all natural bed bug spray BEST Yet! line of cedar-oil based liquid products saying that it would treat and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations.

According to the FTC, the defendants falsely claimed that their natural, BEST Yet! bed bug and head lice products were invented for the U.S. Army, that their bed bug product was acknowledged by the USDA as the No. 1 choice of bio-based pesticides, and that the Environmental Protection Agency had warned consumers to avoid chemical solutions for treating bed bug infestations.

Under the agreed-upon settlement orders, the defendants are prohibited from claiming that their BEST Yet! products by themselves can stop or prevent a bed bug infestation, or are more effective at doing so than other products, unless they have competent and scientific evidence to make the claims.

Following are some tips and guidance from the FTC from their website:

From the FTC:  Treating Bed Bug Infestations

"Experts agree: Bed bug infestations are difficult to control, and no one treatment or technique has been found to be effective in all cases. Still, bed bugs can be controlled through a combination of techniques known as integrated pest management (IPM) – an environmentally sensitive approach that includes prevention, monitoring, and limited use of chemical pesticides. In fact, some populations of bed bugs have developed resistance to common pesticides, making some sprays ineffective. Alternative treatments include heat and steam. Bedding, clothing, and electronic items shouldn't ever be treated with pesticides, but can be treated with heat."

From the FTC:  Hiring a Professional

  • Make sure that you really have bed bugs and not some other pests.
  • Use a professional with experience in bed bug control. Controlling bed bugs is different than controlling other pests.
  • Be wary of exterminators who show up uninvited and offer a free inspection. They may use scare tactics to pressure you into authorizing immediate and costly treatments. 
  • Deal with a qualified and licensed pest management company. Call your state pest control regulatory agency for information about the status of pest management companies. In most states, the regulatory agency is the State Department of Agriculture. 
  • Be wary of choosing a company based on price alone. Quality control is the most important factor.
  • Before you sign a contract, get details on the extent of the infestation, the proposed work plan, and the number of visits required and anticipated to solve the problem. A reputable company will inspect your property before quoting you a price or beginning any pesticide application. The company also should give you a written inspection report, and a plan for preparing for treatment and preventing further infestation.
  • Find out if the pest control company has liability insurance to cover any damage that occurs to your home or furnishings during treatment. 
  • If you get a written "guarantee," look for what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what is required for continuing control, prevention, and management. 

Update:  5/31/13: 
There are now many all-natural bed bug sprays (25B exempt products) that are being marketed and sold online and in stores.  Many of the products are not regulated by the EPA because they contain 25b exempt active ingredients. If you purchase bed bug sprays do your research:  look at the active ingredients and review the studies that claim that the sprays work and who they where conducted by.  While many bed bug sprays will kill bed bugs on contact, so will a fly swatter or just crushing them with your finger!  Buyer beware!

Author:  Joe Restifo, Las Vegas Bed Bug Pest Control Specialist, K-9 Sweeps LLC
March 26, 2012

Do bed bug sprays really work?  The simple answer is YES and NO.  Not what you were looking for? Then read on.  (for the latest information about fogger's and bed bug bombs scroll to the bottom of the page).

First of all there are two types of sprays people ask about, over the counter bed bug products and professional products. Let's look at the over the counter products first.

Over the counter bed bug sprays can be the all natural (green) variety or products that contain some form of pesticides (the ones you see at home improvement stores, drug stores, nurseries, etc.)

So do these types of products work for killing bed bugs?  Like mentioned above, yes and no. While these products can and will kill bed bugs on contact, so will many things. Things like 91% rubbing alcohol (careful it is very flammable), Murphy’s oil soap, Windex, a fly swatter, your finger, a vacuum to suck them up and throw them out and so on. You see there are many ways to kill and or remove the bed bugs that you see. What makes bed bugs hard to rid from a structure is that you really only see a small percentage of the population.To succeed you have to eliminate 100% of them, anything less is a failure. So when people ask me “will this product or that product work,” I have to ask them what’s your definition of “work?”

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention what about killing bed bug eggs? Do these bed bug products work on bed bug eggs? A very small percentage of the ones that I have tested actually killed eggs, but remember you have to find them all first. Good luck on that one.

One last thing - do NOT use foggers, they don’t work and will only make your problem worse!Remember kill 100% or it is a failure and bed bugs will return.You have been warned!

Professional grade pesticides (“sprays”): These come in different forms of concentrate and need to be diluted following the product label. These products differ somewhat from the above as they generally contain a higher percentage of AI (active ingredient), some have duel AI’S and they are regulated by states to make sure only properly trained people apply them. These products typically yield better results than the over the counter products.One reason is that they offer a better residual (continues to kill after dried). The second reason is that they are typically applied by a knowledgeable pest professional. But professional and do-it-yourselfer's fail even with these products. How can that be you ask? You will rarely win the battle with a bed bug infestation IF you or your chosen company uses chemicals as their first line (hopefully not the only) line of defense. In other words, if you are relying on just applying some “sprays” and think the problem will be fixed you are wrong.

Eradicating a bed bug infestation can be hard work, and it always requires more thought than action. Learn as much as you can about your enemy, know their biology, behaviors and tendencies and then use this knowledge against them.

One last note.  Can you win the battle using just a bed bug “spray”?  Yes you can, “IF” you find them early enough. This is what is called an introduction to bed bugs. This is the early stage, before it becomes an infestation. I have removed bed bugs from a few clients’ homes with just tweezers. You just have to find them early.

So here is the million dollar question.  Can you tell if you have an infestation or just an introduction to bed bugs?  How about the company you are thinking of hiring?  Can they accurately tell you?

This is why I say more thought than action. There are only two silver bullets available for bed bugs - Knowledge & Early Detection!

I will be addressing “Dusts.The Do’s and Dont’s in my next blog so check back soon so that you can learn more about winning the battle against bed bugs.

Credits:  The author of this article is Joe Restifo, Chief Operating Office of K-9 Sweeps LLC.  All Rights Reserved.  Inquires and questions can be sent here.

INFORMATION ABOUT FOGGER'S AND BED BUG BOMBS:

A study published by Ohio State University study, conducted by entomologists, says over-the-counter foggers or bug bombs, commonly used by consumers, are not effective at killing bedbugs.  The study appears in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology, a peer-reviewed publication of the Entomological Society of America and is also noted in Science Daily.


Health.com also reports that:  In a new study, the first of its kind to be published, entomologists at Ohio State University tested three commercially available foggers—sold under the Hot Shot, Spectracide, and Eliminator brands, respectively—and concluded that all three products were virtually useless at fighting bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs in houses and apartments tend to be resistant to the insecticides used in most foggers, the study found, and even non-resistant bugs are likely to survive a fogging because the mist of chemicals doesn’t appear capable of penetrating the cracks in furniture and walls where bed bugs usually hide.

“Based on our findings, bug bombs should not be used for crawling insects such as bed bugs,” says lead researcher Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., an associate professor at the university. “These products shouldn’t even be labeled for bed bugs.”
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