'Bombs' Ineffective Against Bedbugs, Experts Say

Over-the-counter foggers won't eliminate the blood-sucking pests; might make infestation worse

MONDAY, June 4, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Bad news for folks suffering from bedbug infestation: New research shows that bug bombs are ineffective against these blood-sucking pests.

The insect control products, also called foggers, have been sold for decades for use against a wide variety of household insects. This study provides the first scientific evidence that bug bombs should not be recommended for use against bedbugs, a growing problem in many cities.

Ohio State University researchers evaluated the effects of three different fogger brands on five different bedbug populations. The foggers had little, if any, effect on the insects.

The study was published June 3 in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

"There has always been this perception and feedback from the pest-management industry that over-the-counter foggers are not effective against bedbugs and might make matters worse. But up until now there has been no published data regarding the efficacy of foggers against bedbugs," study co-author Susan Jones, a household and structural pest specialist, said in a news release from the Entomological Society of America.

Jones noted that most bedbugs hide in protected sites, such as under sheets and mattresses, in cracks and crevices, and deep inside carpets. This makes it highly unlikely that insecticide mist from foggers can reach them. Even if it does, many bedbug populations have varying degrees of resistance to insecticides.

"These foggers don't penetrate in cracks and crevices where most bedbugs are hiding, so most of them will survive," Jones said. "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. Bedbugs are among the most difficult and expensive urban pests to control. It typically takes a professional to do it right. Also, the ineffective use of these products can lead to further resistance in insects."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about bedbugs.

SOURCE: Entomological Society of America, news release, June 3, 2012
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