Study of the Day: Over-the-Counter Bedbug Remedies Are Worthless

New research suggests that, to get rid of these disgusting urban pests, it's best to go straight to the professionals.

Study of the DaySebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock

PROBLEM: Bug bombs or foggers have been sold for decades to consumers looking to eliminate household insects. Do they really work against bedbugs?

METHODOLOGY: Entomologists Susan C. Jones and Joshua L. Bryant tested three different fogger brands -- Hotshot Bedbug and Flea Fogger, Spectracide Bug Stop Indoor Fogger, and Eliminator Indoor Fogger -- from a nationwide retailer on five different bedbug populations.

RESULTS: The researchers found little, if any, adverse effects on the bedbugs after using the aerosolized total-release foggers. Because most bedbugs hid in protected sites, such as mattresses, crevices, and carpets, the mist from foggers tended to not reach them. If or when they did come into contact, many of them still survived because they had built a resistance to these common insecticides.

CONCLUSION: Retail bug bombs are useless against bedbugs. "If you use these products," says Jones in a statement, "you will waste your money and you will delay effective treatment of your infestation."

IMPLICATION: Call a professional the next time you're attacked by bedbugs.

SOURCE: The full study, "Ineffectiveness of Over-the-Counter Total-Release Foggers Against the Bed Bug (Heteroptera: Cimicidae), ," is published in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Presented by

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic's Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Health

Just In