Under Investigation: Bed Bug “Bombs” & “Foggers”
Questions? Have information? – call Preston W. Leonard, Esq. at (617)329-1295.
Do Bed Bug Bombs and Foggers Work?
There are three bed bug products whose efficacy are in question:
- Hot Shot
According a recent study [here], “The nature of these foggers is such that they don’t penetrate in cracks and crevices where most bedbugs are hiding, so most of them will survive.”
See the Ohio State University researcher’s video below:
- “[R] readily available bug bombs that fill the house with a pesticide fog are understandably tempting. But research shows they’re not likely to work.
- Writing in the Journal of Economic Entomology, researchers from Ohio State University say they tested three popular bug bomb products on five different populations of bedbugs, collected “in the wild” from homes around Ohio. All three products failed miserably. (Emphasis added).
- A bug bomb is basically an aerosol can that fills a room with insecticides called pyrethrins. They didn’t exactly have a stellar reputation before, either. There are anecdotal reports that the products stir up the bugs, causing them to leave their hiding places and potentially scatter to new locations. And as NPR’s Jon Hamilton reported last year, many bedbugs are becoming resistant to pyrethrins.
- “If [bug bombs] don’t work in the first place, that’s what people need to know,” lead author and entymology professor Susan Jones tells Shots. So she tested three products, including two general-purpose bug bombs, Spectracide Bug Stop Indoor Fogger and Eliminator Indoor Fogger, and one marketed specifically for bedbugs, Hot Shot Bedbug and Flea Fogger. All three are manufactured by Spectrum Brands.
- The Federal Trade Commission‘s website goes even further. “Steer clear of bug bombs or foggers,” it warns, citing the scattering effect.
Are Bed Bug Foggers Safe?
At least one consumer has complained of devastating physical side effects of using a bed bug fogger. Some government studies suggest that the pesticides used in foggers (i.e permethrin, tetramethrin, cypermethrin, cyfluthrin, and piperonyl butoxide) can harm humans. According to CDC report, at least one infant death is suspected to have resulted from bed bug fogger poisoning: “This death occurred in a female infant aged 10 months who was put to bed the evening of the day her apartment was treated with three TRFs. The infant was found dead the next morning.
The safety of these products, which are marketed as providing a quick fix, have been questioned by federal and state agencies aside from the CDC For example:
NewYorkvsBedbugs.org posted: “New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that it would classify total release foggers (“TRFs” or “bug bombs”) as restricted-use products available only to professionals. We applauded that move, which followed a CDC study on the illnesses and injuries caused by TRFs, in large part because TRFs are inappropriate products to use by consumers in the control of bed bug infestations. They make infestations more difficult to control, dispersing bed bugs to scattered harborage sites and walls and increasing the likelihood that an infestation will spread to adjacent locations.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has urged safety precautions for total release foggers and has warned: ” failure to vacate premises during fogging or reentering without airing out may result in illness.”
Time Magazine reported: “Bed bugs do not transmit disease or cause illness — but the insecticides used to kill them do. A total of 111 illnesses associated with bed bug-related insecticides were reported in seven states between 2003 and 2010 (mostly in the last three years), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday. Most cases of poisoning were not severe, but the data included one death.
Information about Spectrum Brands, Inc.
Spectrum makes, Hot Shot, Spectracide, and Eliminator. Spectrum is a Delaware corporation with its corporate headquarters at 601 Rayovac Drive, Madison, Wisconsin. Spectrum labels and advertises that its Hot Shot Bed Bug Products “Kill(s) Bed Bugs.” This representation is central to Spectrum’s marketing of its Hot Shot Bed Bug Products, and is displayed on the product itself, Spectrum’s website, and other online advertisements. See Hot Shot, http://www.hotshot.com/ (click on “Bedbugs” tab; then “learn more” link for “Hot Shot Pest Bed Bug & Flea Killer Aerosol” and “Hot Shot Bed Bug & Flea Fogger” products.
- With Bed Bugs, the Cure May Be Worse Than the Disease (Time)
- ASSIGNMENT 13: Bed bugs uncovered at local hotels (weau.com)
- Bed bugs are biting: Can Casper stop them? (missoulian.com)
- Bed Bug Insecticides Linked to Illness, One Death, CDC Says-cnbnews.net (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Bug bomb starts mobile home fire (fox5sandiego.com)
- Tenants or landlords: Who’s to blame for bed bugs? (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
- Study: Bed bug ‘bombs’ don’t work – CNN (blog) (bedbugbitespictures.wordpress.com)
- Explosion in Chinatown Building Leaves 3 Badly Hurt (NYTimes)
- Louisville ranks 9th for cities with greatest increase of bed bugs (whas11.com)
- Where the bed bugs are: Report shows increases in 15 cities (usatoday.com)
- Bug bombs cause partial collapse of New York City building (bangordailynews.com)