How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Top Ten Bad Idea #7 Use Unproven Products

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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Top Ten Bad Idea #7 Use Unproven Products

Cedar, Cinnamon, Lemon Grass, Peppermint, and Clove Oil? There’s No Proof They Will Eradicate Bed Bugs

Natural oil products do not kill bed bugs but will allow a bed bug infestation to flourish while you waste money on unproven protects. So far, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled two cases involving false claims, misleading advertising, and fake results from natural bed bug sprays.

Aditi Jhaveri, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC summarized the action against one natural bed bug product:

The FTC recently negotiated a settlement with the marketers of Best Yet!, a line of cedar oil pest control products. The FTC alleged that Best Yet! didn’t have sufficient scientific proof that their products prevented and treated head lice and bed bugs, even though they claimed they did. The FTC also charged that marketers of Best Yet! falsely claimed that government agencies — including the EPA, USDA, and U.S. Army — endorsed their products.

Unproven products can do more than take a bite out of your wallet. Bed bugs and head lice are good hitchhikers, and not eliminating them properly will prolong the infestation and could let the pests spread to other people.

So what can you do? Do your homework when shopping for products and services related to head lice or bed bug infestations.

Use the EPA’s bed bug product search tool to help you choose a product that meets your needs. The tough truth is, bed bug infestations are difficult to control, and no one treatment or technique has been found to be effective in all cases. Be wary of any brand that claims to be a silver bullet.

Cedar oil isn’t the only ineffectual product marketed for natural bed bug extermination. As pointed out by PCT Magazine, “Many natural pesticides qualify for exemption under section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), where manufacturers are not required to provide efficacy data for registration. With lax regulation and a low cost of development, manufacturers can roll out new products quickly, making bold claims such as, ‘the best bed bug treatment you can get on the market today,’ or that a consumer can ‘create a barrier against bed bugs.’ One product promises ‘the same results delivered by pest control service without evacuation.'”

PCT Magazine went on to perform a scientifically valid test of 13 products marketed as natural bed bug remedies. The results? Only two products performed well when directly applied to live bed bugs. The article went on to conclude, “Under field conditions, bed bugs hide in cracks, crevices, creases and many other places. Under these conditions, the effectiveness of natural pesticides against bed bugs is expected to be even lower because most bed bugs may not be exposed to direct spray, and dry natural pesticide residues have no or very limited effect on bed bugs.”

The fact is, “green” sells. And it puts a lot of green in the pockets of the unscrupulous. We like natural and green products that are proven to work, and use many of them in our business, as do most reputable pest control companies. Don’t waste your money on one of the Top Ten Bad Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs. Follow the FTC’s advice and avoid unproven, untested natural bed bug remedies.

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About the Author:

Garrett Thrasher is author of Bed Bug Battle Plan (available on Amazon), a San Diego District Director of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), a member of the bedbugFREE network, and a member of the National Pest Management Association. His company has been awarded the QualityPro mark of excellence in pest management.As a member of the Thrasher family, Garrett grew up in the pest Control business founded by his father in 1979. After earning his B.S. in Psychology from U.C. Irvine, he worked for several different pest control companies to understand various business models. His number one take-away was the same as his family’s philosophy: there is nothing more important than customer satisfaction. Garrett settled in San Diego and opened the Southern California branch of the business.


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