Study: Bed bug 'bombs' don't work
June 3rd, 2012
11:30 PM ET

Study: Bed bug 'bombs' don't work

Do-it-yourself "bombs" or "foggers" that target bugs by filling entire rooms with aerosol insecticide are billed as an easy, cost-effective alternative to pricey pro exterminators. Although these products are indeed cheap, retailing at hardware stores for around $10, if you use them on bed bugs you're likely to get what you pay for.

In a new study, the first of its kind to be published, entomologists at Ohio State University tested three commercially available foggers - sold under the Hot Shot, Spectracide, and Eliminator brands, respectively - and concluded that all three products were virtually useless at fighting bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs in houses and apartments tend to be resistant to the insecticides used in most foggers, the study found, and even non-resistant bugs are likely to survive a fogging because the mist of chemicals doesn't appear capable of penetrating the cracks in furniture and walls where bed bugs usually hide.

"Based on our findings, bug bombs should not be used for crawling insects such as bed bugs," says lead researcher Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., an associate professor at the university. "These products shouldn't even be labeled for bed bugs."

Health.com: 15 tips for avoiding hotel bedbugs

Only one of the products tested, the Hot Shot Bedbug & Flea Fogger, specifically calls out bed bugs on its label, while the others refer broadly to "crawling" or "biting" insects.

Bed bugs are a major nuisance but generally don't pose a threat to health, as their bites rarely cause more than itching welts or the occasional allergic reaction. Foggers, on the other hand, can be hazardous if used incorrectly.

In a 2008 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that at least 466 fogger-related injuries or illnesses were documented across eight states between 2001 and 2006. The most common ill effects—such as headaches, nausea, and coughing - tended to be minor and short-lived, although hospitalization was required in 21 cases.

Most incidents apparently involved people who didn't leave the room quickly enough after setting off a fogger, or who reentered a room too soon. In addition, Jones says, the insecticides found in foggers (known as pyrethroids and pyrethrins) can contaminate surfaces such as kitchen counters, and the aerosol propellant used to disperse them is flammable.

Health.com: Can you get bed bugs at a movie theater?

The new study, which appears in the Journal of Economic Entomology, suggests that foggers are so ineffective against bed bugs that they probably don't warrant even the small risk of harmful insecticide exposure or other hazards.

Jones and her colleagues began by collecting five different populations of bed bugs from residences in Columbus, Ohio. As a control group, they added a sixth population, known as the Harlan strain, that has been cultivated in alaboratory - and carefully sheltered from pesticides - since 1973.

The researchers then placed the various bed bug populations in petri dishes and exposed them to the foggers in a campus building slated for demolition. After one test, Jones recalls, "the Harlan bugs were keeled over and all of our field populations [were] just scurrying around as if nothing ever happened to them," which suggests the non-laboratory bugs were resistant to the insecticide.

In a second series of tests, the researchers added small shelters made of paper discs or cloth to the petri dishes. These shelters, which allowed the bugs to hide during fogging, were designed to mimic the bugs' natural hideouts, such as the cracks and crevices in floorboards, along mattresses, and behind picture frames.

This time the fragile Harlan strain survived just fine. "The critical issue is that the droplets don't penetrate cracks or crevices," Jones says. "They don't even get to where the bugs are hiding."

Health.com: Health hazards hidden in college dorms

So is there any way to get rid of these elusive critters?

Professional exterminators can wipe out an infestation, but they charge hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, Jones says. Simple measures such as putting sheets in the dryer for 30 minutes, scouring mattresses with paper towels, and using a credit card to crush bugs hidden in floor boards and bed frames also can help reduce a population, she adds.

United Industries Corporation, which makes all three of the products tested in the study, emphasized in a statement that only the Hot Shot brand fogger is designed to be used on bedbugs. The company stood by its line of Hot Shot products, saying they are "proven to be effective against bed bugs."

The Hot Shot fogger "is particularly effective when used in in conjunction with our bedbug-killing direct sprays," said John Pailthorp, the company's division vice president of marketing. "We advise homeowners to follow up with a repeat, full-scale treatment one to two weeks after the initial fogging to ensure that bedbugs have been eradicated. And, as always, we recommend a professional evaluation if the problem is particularly severe."

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

Post by:
Filed under: Allergies • Health.com

soundoff (663 Responses)
  1. barbers near me


    June 13, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 99 cent store near me


    June 13, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. community colleges near me


    June 13, 2021 at 05:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rv rentals near me


    June 13, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Fred Larimore

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/05/pictures-boeing-787-flying-with-boeing-40c/


    June 13, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. navy federal near me

    Hi there! This post could not be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 13, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. hotstar.com/activate

    Wonderful, what a website it is! This web site presents helpful information to us, keep
    it up.

    June 13, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. lumber yard near me


    June 13, 2021 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. lenscrafters near me


    June 13, 2021 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. applebees near me


    June 13, 2021 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. fedex store near me

    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    June 14, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. dentist near me

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read through content from other writers and use something from their websites.


    June 14, 2021 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. storage unit near me

    Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 14, 2021 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. u-haul near me


    June 14, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. shell near me


    June 14, 2021 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. gravel near me

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your site.


    June 14, 2021 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. chevy dealership near me


    June 14, 2021 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. steakhouse near me

    Great post. I am dealing with a few of these issues as well..


    June 14, 2021 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. lumber yards near me

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this page.


    June 14, 2021 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Hello! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you've got here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.


    June 15, 2021 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back yet again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    June 15, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am having issues with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 15, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Nearby RV Repairs

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 15, 2021 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Camper Repair Near Me

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I actually thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    June 15, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    I could not resist commenting. Well written!


    June 15, 2021 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair Santa Ana

    Good article! We are linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    June 15, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Nearby RV Repair


    June 15, 2021 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a lot and never seem to get anything done.


    June 15, 2021 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Nearest RV Repair


    June 16, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Near My Location

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thank you for providing this info.


    June 16, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you ought to write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but typically folks don't talk about such subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!


    June 16, 2021 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repairs Nearby

    I like reading through an article that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!


    June 16, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Nearby RV Repair

    Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 16, 2021 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I genuinely thought you'd have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    June 16, 2021 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Orange County


    June 16, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. www.pharmaceptica.com

    sildenafil generic 100 mg https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 16, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. auto body shop near me

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!


    June 17, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. jamaican food near me


    June 17, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. carpet cleaning near me


    June 17, 2021 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rite aid near me


    June 17, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. dillards near me


    June 17, 2021 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. chiropractors near me

    I want to to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you book-marked to look at new stuff you postÖ


    June 18, 2021 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv dealers near me

    I blog often and I really appreciate your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.


    June 18, 2021 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. cheap hotels near me


    June 18, 2021 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. burger king near me


    June 18, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. burlington coat factory near me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    June 18, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. bike trails near me

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely loved every little bit of it. I have you book marked to look at new things you postÖ


    June 18, 2021 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Leave a Reply to Dodge Sprinter 3500 2006 Window Repair


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

June 2012
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.