The Smoke and Mirrors of Bed Bug Products
Learn about the best home treatments for bed bugs. Just open any cabinet under the sink in a kitchen, on a shelf in a broom closet or garage, or in the bathroom and you can find an array of products for every kind of surface or need.
Savvy marketing will create a well-planned, seductive story that will entice the buyer to spend money on their product over others. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but is how products are sold.
Everyone is searching for a solution to some kind of problem. People are influenced by videos, voice, music or pictures of “if you use our product” your life could be wonderful…
These aphrodisiacs are flashed across TV, Magazine pages, newspapers, web sites, labels or billboard advertisements to create the longing for such products that increase the “I want and need that!”
Of course there is always a fine line between reality and the gray line of marketing of how every product really works. However, people are easily seduced if the clever marketer can tap into dreams and aspirations of the buyer to induce the sale.
The words “may and can” are often used to hide the fact that if they were to say “will “or “guaranteed to” will get them in trouble with the FTC if they can’t substantiate or back up their claim. Many half-truths are found on labels, advertising and marketing materials.
Here’s an example from my past as a nutritional supplement manufacturer. There is so much deception in that field and you must be careful what you purchase.
Anyone can put a product on the market by going to a contract manufacturer. Matter of fact, most of them already has pre-designed products for private labeling. All you have to do is create your labels, purchase a minimum and start marketing.
Let’s say you put Vitamin E in the product that is fat-soluble and plays an important role as an antioxidant that protects the heart. Since Vitamin E is a big seller, you create an advertising and marketing campaign around all the benefits of Vitamin E. You put PROTECTS HEART on the front of your label and that is what people see that entices them to buy your product to “protect” their heart.
Now, you’re not exactly lying because there is a scant amount of Vitamin E in the product BUT you never tested your own particular product (not required by law) but now you are now selling snake oil to the masses that doesn’t know any better. All people can go by is what is on the label and if you bend the truth a little, they will never know.
You just created a false sense of security for anyone who purchases your product with the dream of protecting their heart by taking it. After all, you told them the Vitamin E on your label will. That is how easy people are sucked into buying products.
Each year, our consumer division reviews bed bug products and gives them either a thumbs up or down depending upon the efficacy, testing, need and value, and rates them from one to five stars. So keep your hands on your pocketbook for now and learn what does and doesn’t work and why.
We are here to help you make informed decisions and to determine the safest and lowest-impact control methods for bed bug problems.
Out of total desperation, people today will literally buy anything that has BED BUGS in big bold letters on the label.
You’ll read the words KILLS BED BUGS and grab it up. Yep that’s what you want, to kill bed bugs! Without restraint you hand over your hard earned money and head home in the attempt to eliminate all the bed bugs from your life.
Learning How to Read a Label is Really Important
There are around 32,800,000 results online for learning how to read food labels yet every product that the consumer uses has a label that needs to be understood.
If you were to continue to read the label on most of the bed bug products, the words “on contact” are slipped in! Just spend time in a hardware store one day reading labels and you will see all the tricky words and expressions used to entice your buying.
So in the mind of the unsuspecting buyer, he or she is assuming that if they buy the product and spray it, it will kill all the bed bugs on contact!
And in most cases it will, (so will drowning it with just about any liquid), but what they don’t tell you is, you have to (find every bed bug) spray it directly on the bug (making CONTACT) or you will be wasting the contents and the cost of it by arbitrarily spraying it all over surfaces.
You have to understand – you must find every bed bugs hiding spot
I recently heard from a young woman that read alcohol kills bed bugs, so she purchased four quarts (a full gallon) worth of 91% alcohol and sprayed it everywhere! She couldn’t understand why she still had bed bugs.
Sure, if she saw a bed bug and sprayed it directly, it would die, (in most cases), BUT spraying a full gallon of alcohol on all her furniture or belongings will only dissipate over time and does not leave any active residual.
KNOW THIS: Bed bugs are cryptic (hidden) by nature and normally won’t be hanging out on surfaces where people spray insecticides. So the importance of using any type of spray whether it is natural or chemical is – getting the product into all areas where the bugs are hiding.
Let’s suppose you spray all the baseboards behind your bed (upper and lower) and carpet edges. When you were spraying, you didn’t see any bed bugs, but sprayed it anyway with the thought that you were killing all the bed bugs.
“If” the product contained an ingredient that acts as a residual and leaves a lasting film or substance on the surface. Then, if it crosses over that barrier picks up the residual it may work on killing it. That is how most synthetic chemicals work that contains residuals (unfortunately there are proven resistance issues with them).
Whether it is a synthetic chemical or non-toxic, look for both field and clinical or University studies and most importantly consumer reviews that prove efficacy of the product so you don’t waste your money. And remember, these sprays don’t kill the eggs so within time, the eggs will hatch and the baby nymphs will be hungry.
Also, know that any product can show a positive result from a test because it was PAID for, so look for products that have positive reviews from either lots of consumers or pest professionals that are actually using it successfully with their clients.
As always, no matter what product you use, (cleaners, cosmetics, or pest products) look at it with a “Buyer Beware” attitude. Look at warranties – will you get your money back if the product doesn’t work as stated?
Bed Bug Bombs
Another product that has very poor results is BED BUG BOMBS. You can find plenty of BEWARE of BED BUG BOMBS all over the Internet. It is well known that these can spread the bed bugs further and are known as a complete waste of money.
Even the EPA warns against the use of these.
Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of total release foggers against bed bugs. Bed bugs often hide, especially during the day. The pesticides used in total release foggers must contact the pest to kill it, so if the material does not reach where the bed bug is hiding, the bed bug will not be killed.
Mattress encasements: Here’s a product that you can find all over the Internet, and at just about any store you could shop at today. Are they any good you ask? Sure, when I purchased my new mattress, the first thing I did was get a mattress encasement to protect it against sweat, dust mites, spills (my grandchildren, pets) allergens and more.
Mattress encasements were designed to protect mattresses and box springs and in the last decade have become very popular for the use in bed bug control. The encasement doesn’t control or get rid of bed bugs, nor does it protect against you introducing bed bugs. It really hasn’t anything to do with bed bugs, but does protect your investment.
They do protect bed bugs from getting into the seams, piping, grommets, pillow tops and any other comfortable hidden areas of the mattress and box springs. That’s all for protection folks! Do they have a value for that? You bet ya, which adds up to one less thing to have to treat and/or possibly replace somewhere down the line should you get bed bugs.
Get What you Pay For
Another reason they are used in bed bug control is after treatment they are applied just in case there are a few stragglers left. Many professionals will insists you get an encasement as part of their service. If any live bed bugs or eggs are left behind, they will keep them from coming out to bite and will eventually cause them to die.
Some people when having to dress several beds in a home go for the cheap versions of these. Beware of thin plastic materials that tear easily and protect edges that meet with the frame with soft cloths or tape to resist tears. Always check for tears on corners where they meet up with the metal or wood frames because bed bugs can take up harborage inside.
So if anyone tells you that they are a must – think again. But in my professional opinion, a must have for anyone that has a bed for more than just bed bugs.
Chemically Impregnated Sheets or Liners
Another form of a good sales pitch is Impregnated sheets or liners. Just because impregnated clothing and fabrics were used in the military for years, who says they were safe? Many of our military men suffer from horrible diseases and medical conditions and no one knows why. Could it have been what they were exposed to on their clothing and environment while in the military?
Today, people are much more aware of what they subject their bodies and environment to. A conscientious effort is being made in the manufacturing of furniture and bedding, the foods we eat and products we use. Face it, the GREEN movement is growing by leaps and bounds and for good reasons.
These are some questions and thoughts from callers regarding impregnated sheets and liners.
- If these sheets or liners are impregnated with a chemical (pyrethrins) which bed bugs are known to be resistant to, then why should I spend my money on them?
- Whether or not a sheet or blanket is covered over the impregnated sheet or liner, can the chemical be transferred or absorbed by the human laying in it?
- I want to get into my bed knowing I am not going to be bitten. Why apply something that has an 80% kill ratio over time, or may cut down their egg laying ability, when you can use heat or a steamer and kill them all on contact?
Read this from the Pesticide Research Institute
There are more than 300 pesticide products approved for use against bed bugs; most of these contain compounds called pyrethroids as the active ingredient. Many bed bug populations have developed resistance to pyrethroids and their botanically derived cousins, pyrethrins. Some bed bug pesticides are restricted for use only by licensed pest-control professionals. In general, professionals have the resources and experience to apply pesticides more effectively than residents can do on their own.
Pyrethroids are toxic to the nervous systems of people and pets (especially cats). They can also act as sensitizers, causing allergic reactions and asthma in some people. Some chemicals in this group show potential for long-term reproductive impacts through endocrine disruption. US EPA has classified permethrin as a probable carcinogen, and bioallethrin and bifenthrin as possible carcinogens. Bifenthrin is also a reproductive and developmental toxin. Most products containing pyrethroids also contain a synergist that increases the insecticidal activity of the pyrethroid. Typical synergists include piperonyl butoxide (PBO) and N-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide. US EPA considers both of these synergists’ possible carcinogens. In some areas resistance is an issue for treatment effectiveness.
Learn and Choose Carefully
This complete exhaustion of buying up non-performing bed bug products extracts a serious amount of cash from unsuspecting buyers each day. Remember, risk assessments for any pesticide use are important for you and your family’s environment. Leave chemicals to those who understand how to mix and use them properly!
When and how you spend you money it totally up to you, but always evaluate the extent of your infestation first. Make the choice of whether you are going to attempt a do it yourself approach or hire the services of a professional.
Hiring a Professional
If you hire a pro, make sure they are qualified by experience and ask lots of questions. Your choices are chemical or heat or physical labor of vacuuming, steaming and dusts. It all depends upon what they offer, how bad your infestation is and of course, cost.
If you decide to do it yourself, STOP and learn what you’re doing first! This is not a bug that is easily eliminated by a squirt here and there. Heavy infestations are better suited for a professional.
Now you know what products to avoid. If you want to know which products work best, give us a call or check out our bed bug product page for the number one winning products that have been tested for many years. Although we don’t sell these products, we can direct you to a product company or manufacturer that does.
We are here to help! www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332