Can anyone explain to me how placing a polypropylene cover on top of your seat in a movie theater will prevent bed bugs which may be in the seat or in the theater from biting you or hitching a ride home with you in your clothing or possessions?
Can you give me any reason on earth why bed bugs would not simply go around or climb over the seat cover and feed freely?
No, you cannot.
I did not think so.
Bed bugs, my friends, are the new gold rush.
And you don’t have to have any proof whatsoever that a product actually works in order to sell lots of it, garnering attention in the blogosphere, and stocking shelves at major chain stores (which I will not name).
Simply placing the caption “No Bed Bugs” on the product package does not mean this product will do anything to prevent bed bugs biting or hitching a ride home with you.
Consumers beware: at $2.99 a pop, someone may get very rich on your false sense of security.
Entrepreneurs be aware: try actually talking to someone who knows something about bed bugs before you design a product.
(Direct link to YouTube for those who can’t see the embedded video.)
In the Comments below, Jeff White suggested that if the cover is smooth, it may have some value in that bed bugs might not be able to walk across it.
If this is so, then it’s possible the product may prevent bed bugs on the seat itself from feeding on theatergoers. (I’d like to see some testing data from independent entomologists on this.)
However, in response to Jeff, I argued that the product claims from the product website were nevertheless misleading:
The marketing of the product suggests the use of the product will keep consumers from being exposed to bed bugs.
The product label features a bunch of bed bugs in a red circle with a line through it, saying “No Bed Bugs.” This implies the product keeps bed bugs away entirely.
These are some phrases and statements used on the product’s website:
“Protect yourself from bed bugs everywhere you go…”
This implies that the product protects you from bed bugs. It may give consumers a false sense of security.
Interestingly, as of June 1st, this has been amended to “Protect yourself from bed bugs and germs anywhere you go!”
The “facts” page also gives detailed advice on inspecting an airplane seat for bed bugs and ends with “Do all that or just use our product.”
That implies that this is equally helpful as a careful visual inspection of all sides of the seat and head and arm rest.
As of June 1st, this language has now been removed from the Facts and Tips page.
I am also concerned, as Cilecto was, that the product may be kept in its carrying case for reuse. If bed bugs are present on the seat, they may be removed from it with the seat cover after use. That would seem to be a great conduit for bringing bed bugs to another location. The website should warn people never to reuse this product and to dispose of it right away.
The product page is now emphasizing a “Disposable one-time use.”
Again, I want to stress that without testing data, we cannot be sure whether this product will keep bed bugs on the seat from biting you.
However, no seat cover can fully protect you from getting bed bug bites in a movie theater, nor can it prevent you from picking up bed bugs and bringing them home. It’s important that people do not get a false sense of security from products like the Bug Off Seat Cover.
Note also, there’s a second seat cover on the market now: Seat Defender. More on that here.