Confirmed – OTC Bedbug Products Ineffective

Bed Bugs Are Even Peskier Than We Thought

A new study reveals that common over-the-counter bed bug eradication products are essentially ineffective.

By Joseph Stromberg –
June 4, 2012


A new study shows that over-the-counter products sold to eradicate the bed bug, shown feeding above, are relatively ineffective.

First comes a mysterious difficulty sleeping through the night, then a splotchy, itchy rash and finally the alarming (and somewhat embarrassing) realization—your bed is infested with Cimex lectularius, the dreaded bed bug.

A new study published yesterday in the Journal of Economic Entomology has more bad news for those suffering from an infestation: Over-the-counter products like “foggers” and “bug bombs” do virtually nothing to kill the irritating pests.

Bed bugs have afflicted humans for a long time—they were even mentioned in the writings of Aristotle and Pliny the Elder—and a number of natural remedies have been used around the world, from black pepper to wild mint to eucalyptus oil. In the years after World War II, bed bugs were nearly wiped out in Western countries by heavy use of pesticides. Since the late 1990s, though, they have come back with a vengeance.

Scientists are unsure why they’ve made a comeback in recent years, but increased international travel and the bugs’ resistance to pesticides are suspected culprits. Bed bugs are especially likely to spread in densely populated cities and apartment buildings—and once they’ve infested your bed, as bed bug sufferers know well, they’re extremely difficult to eradicate. The tiny bugs, just 4 to 5 millimeters in length, can live for up to a year without feeding, and their eggs can lodge invisibly in the seams of sheets or pillowcases.

Most infestations are detected when the creatures do begin to feed, piercing the skin to suck out blood and leaving a series of telltale blotchy red marks. Since bed bugs can become fully engorged with blood in just a few minutes while you’re asleep, catching one in the act is extremely rare. Infestations can also be detected by a characteristic smell, similar to that of over-ripe raspberries, and pest control companies often use dogs to recognize the odor.

The new study, by Susan Jones and Joshua Bryant of Ohio State University, evaluated consumer bed bug control products. They tested the effectiveness of three different products on a five bed bug populations collected from the field, and the results were consistently dismal: The bugs showed essentially no adverse effects after two-hour exposures to the spray insecticides. One population did show an increase in mortality, but only when the bugs were directly hit by the spray, something the authors say is exceedingly rare in real-life applications since the bugs burrow deep into mattresses and fabrics.

“These foggers don’t penetrate in cracks and crevices where most bed bugs are hiding, so most of them will survive,” Jones said in a press release. “If you use these products, you will not get the infestation under control, you will waste your money, and you will delay effective treatment of your infestation.”

One reason the the products are so ineffective, the authors speculate, is an especially concerning one: pesticide resistance. Excessive use of products such as these, which contain the pesticide pyrethoid, might be causing more and more bed bugs to become entirely resistant to the same chemicals that used to wipe them out easily.

So what are you to do if hit with a bed bug infestation? Bringing in a pest professional to kill the creatures is likely more effective than using the store-bought products, but increasing resistance can also render this approach ineffective. Oftentimes exterminators will recommend that you throw out mattresses and other pieces of furniture that bed bugs have infested. Using extreme cold or heat to kill the bugs is an increasingly popular solution, but these techniques also sometimes leave behind founder populations that generate an infestation afterward.

The bottom line—once an infestation of bed bugs has taken hold, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of. Experts advise that early detection and immediate treatment by professionals is the best chance you have of eradicating it entirely. But buying a pesticide over-the-counter and hoping for the best really doesn’t work.

Once you have Bed Bugs you almost never get rid of them. Sprays are dangerous poisons and we are now told not effective. How bad can it get? This article discusses that Bed Bugs had gotten so bad they were shoveling them into their toilets. Denial and blaming the tenant is not a constructive solution.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 – Middletown, NY – A Middletown woman, who moved out of her apartment months ago because of an infestation of bedbugs in her apartment building, is begging for action to rid the four-apartment structure at 47 John Street of the bugs.

Her son and his family still live there.

The woman, who would only identify herself as “Amanda,” said the bedbug problem has gotten worse.

“Now one of the apartments is so badly infested that they are scooping up hundreds of these bedbugs and flushing them down the toilet. People are being bit up,” she said. “My son and his girlfriend live in the basement apartment and they have small children. One of the children is 2 ½ and she has bites on her face. Something has to get dome because this is a major issue.”

The property manager, Richard Heffernan, told he only receive the complaint on Tuesday. Before he can call in a licensed exterminator, he needs permission from all tenants, who must remove all of their clothing and put them in a dryer before any eradication can be performed.

“I haven’t talked to all of them yet,” he said

Heffernan said when he can have the work performed is up to when he can get the tenants to cooperate. “These are not notoriously clean people; they are notoriously dirty people. So, I have my work cut out with me.”

Mayor Joseph DeStefano said city officials also received a complaint about the bedbugs on Tuesday and will do what it can to rid the apartments of the problem.

Bedbugs Drink the Blood of Chickens – We Eat the Chickens – Does that Make US Vampires?

CBS News by Geoff Leo

Sean Pender says he couldn’t believe his eyes when he started working at Pedigree Poultry a couple of weeks ago.

“When I get there they tell us there’s going to be wood ticks. Those are not wood ticks, those are bedbugs,” Pender said.

Pender was part of a group of workers sent to the Regina Beach chicken farm by Labour Ready, an employment agency.

This is a bug Sean Pender says he found in his boot after working at a chicken farm infested with bed bugs.
He said they were cleaning up a barn where chickens had been laying eggs for a year. The work involved pulling out metal racks.

“You’d pull it out and let it drop and bang,” Pender said. “Just a seething mass of them all over the ground. It was just disgusting.”

“I ended up with [bedbugs] around the tops of my socks, just drinking blood like a whole line of them right around the top of my socks as far as they would go because I’m wearing shorts all the time.”

Pender said the bugs were crawling all over the other workers as well. He said they were concerned they might unwittingly be spreading them around Regina.

“If you don’t suit up properly you’re going drag these things home with you,” Pender said. “You’re going to infest your home with this stuff.”

Workers walked off the job

He said by noon he and the other workers had enough and decided to leave.

A spokesperson for Labour Ready, based in Tacoma, Washington, Stacey Burke, confirmed that.

She said the conditions the workers described is cause for concern.

“We did not know the condition of the farm. We did not know that there were some health and safety concerns,” Burke said. “I’m sure it wasn’t disclosed.”

She said Labour Ready should have been told and the workers should have been properly equipped.

Pedigree Poultry responds

The owner of Pedigree Poultry, James Glen, admitted there’s a problem which he said caught him by surprise too.

“The reason that they [the workers] weren’t notified of any issue was because we were unaware of it,” Glen said.

He pointed out the chickens had been laying eggs undisturbed in the barn for a year, and were just recently removed and sent for slaughter.

“The reason that they [the workers] weren’t notified of any issue was because we were unaware of it” – James Glen, Owner of Pedigree Poultry

He said that allowed the bedbugs “to increase without anybody’s knowledge.”

Glen said no one noticed because his workers are only in the barns during the day and bedbugs only come out at night.

While Glen agrees there’s an infestation in his barn he disputes Pender’s suggestion that there was a “seething mass” of bedbugs.

“I don’t think it’s true that there was gobs and gobs of bedbugs,” Glen said.

He said as soon as he became aware of the problem he started searching the internet for solutions, and he contacted veterinarians and pest control companies.

So far Glen has tried spraying a bleach solution and spreading diatomaceous earth, which he said works as a natural insecticide.

Glen said it seems to be working, though the bugs haven’t yet been completely eliminated.

This isn’t the first time Pedigree Poultry has run into bad luck with its flock.

Back in 2007 the Canadian Food Inspection agency confirmed it had been hit with avian flu. All 50,000 birds on the farm were destroyed.

Scientist called to investigate

A U of S poultry veterinarian, whose position is funded by Saskatchewan’s chicken industry, is familiar with the issue, which she said is becoming more common.

Jenny Frick is a poultry extension veterinarian at the U of S who was invited to investigate the infestation at Pedigree Poultry. (University of Saskatchewan)

Dr. Jenny Fricke said bedbug infestations of poultry barns have “been reported to be increasing over recent years.”

She said chicken farms provide a perfect environment for bedbugs.

“They will feed on anything with blood. So if they’re introduced into a poultry barn environment there is a wealth of different hosts for them to feed upon.”

She said the iTeam’s call to Saskatchewan’s chicken industry association prompted officials to send a letter warning of a potential bug problem to the approximately 70 chicken farms in the province.

Fricke said a handful of those producers replied, including Pedigree Poultry, which invited Fricke to investigate.

She’s not able to discuss what she found because of confidentiality protocols.

She said a bedbug infestation is bad for the health of the flock, potentially limiting production.

“Anything that’s causing irritation and distress in a flock is also an animal welfare concern,” Fricke added.

However she said she has no reason to believe that bedbugs could affect the quality of the meat.

Occupational health and safety to investigate

In a written statement Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) told CBC’s iTeam it would be investigating this situation.

It said employers have an obligation to inform, train and equip their workers.

“In a situation where workers may be exposed to offensive substances they would have to be advised of that and provided with appropriate clothing to wear at work, as well as a suitable separate area to store their street clothing.”

Glen said he’s spoken with OHS officials and has agreed to take all of the steps they recommended.

Welcome to BedBug Blog Report

We’re glad you are here to uncover the bedbug story along with us! Sign up to follow this timely new resource, and we’ll keep you updated on current happenings in bedbug science, regulations, prevention and protection strategies, infestations, resources and more.

Our BedBug Blog Report team began following the bedbug trail long before these irritating buggers began making the news. Close to a decade ago, one of our early team members—who was victimized by these vampire bugs while staying at a classy hotel (The bedbugs liked it, too.)—predicted that bedbugs (which had plagued prior generations) would surge again. Shocked by his hotel experience, he set out to avoid another attack by experimenting with possible protective solutions. His preliminary work laid a foundation for development of the first totally integrated bedbug management system on the market. Since then, we have witnessed a pandemic rise in bedbug infestations in big cities and small towns across the United States. We take our position on the front line of the bedbug problem seriously. In fact, if you’ve been bitten by a bedbug, we’ve felt your pain. We’ve been there, too.

One thing we’ve learned over the years is you can’t totally prevent bedbugs. These pests have plagued humankind for millennia and their numbers are growing. Another thing we’ve learned is that you can make a difference through a bedbug-vigilant lifestyle. Creating a barrier between you and bedbugs is the first line of defense. Awareness and advance planning is essential.

Did you know that bedbugs can’t smell? They are not attracted to tasty poisons, either. The only real lure for bedbugs is the promise of blood found in (generally sleeping) humans and warm-blooded animals. Evolution endowed these superb survivors (aka Cimex lectularius) with their own internal light sensors, thermometers, and carbon dioxide detectors. When night descends and people and pets are sleeping nearby, the CO2 they exhale and their drop in body temperature signals these creepy crawlers that it is okay to come out of hiding. Once they do, they climb into beds, furniture and clothing to hunt, or into tiny crevices where they can rest until they need to feed. We’ve known about bedbug habits for a while. That’s nothing new.

What is new is that, according to Popular Science (02-02-2015), an international team of scientists has compiled genetic evidence supporting long-held ideas on the bed bug’s origin. More interesting, their research suggests the common bed bug may be in the early stage of splitting into an entirely new species. The journal Molecular Ecology published the study online in January 2015.

We don’t yet know how this possibility will affect the war on bedbugs. But we will be watching, and we will keep you posted.