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fabric softener sheets repelling insects

(11 posts)
  1. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 8:28:42
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  2. bbgirl

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 8:39:59
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    I know golfers that tuck a folded Bounce fabric softener sheet on the outside of their hats and it seems to do the trick for them in repelling mosquitoes. I thought it was interesting that the substance in it kills mites. I wonder if it would kill bb nymphs? Could they concentrate just that substance and deliver it in another form to kill bugs? It must be considered safe for humans or it couldn't be marketed as a fabric softener could it?

  3. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 8:44:54
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    If it works against mosquitoes, in my book that would be much bigger news than against bed bugs though both would be great.

  4. bbgirl

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 11:20:56
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    How stupid am I? Just realised that the last thing that we need is another insecticide with repellancy features. We already have plenty of those...

  5. Rosae

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 14:19:46
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    Maybe useful in hotels, in your luggage etc.

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 18:41:04
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    Just to state the obvious:

    Since bed bugs are not fungus gnats, there appears to be no evidence right now that dryer sheets will repel (let alone kill) bed bugs.

    If they do, we don't know how long it would last. And as bbgirl suggests, we don't know if there would be negative consequences of this repellency, as is the case when pesticides repel bed bugs. Outside of a lab, repelling bed bugs is not generally a good idea.

    Comparing this with the salt idea is an interesting move on jrbtnyc's part, because subsequent tests of salt by David Cain showed it did not kill bed bugs.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  7. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 19:35:21
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    Nobugsonme - 45 minutes ago  » 
    ...
    tests of salt by David Cain showed it did not kill bed bugs.

    Indeed the fabric softener sheets might not have any more effect on bed bugs than salt did per David's test, but what if...the sheets *did* have a good effect? Is there any other way to find out than to do a test? Especially if there's no particular reason not to do a test since it's easy quick and cheap to do so and therefore no proposal has to be submitted to the National Science Foundation with peer review and funding allocations and journal reports and EPA approval etc. etc..

    Nobugsonme - 45 minutes ago  » 
    ...
    Outside of a lab, repelling bed bugs is not generally a good idea.
    ...

    Nobugs I think you didn't mean to say it exactly that way. Repelling bed bugs *would* be a good idea, wouldn't it, if someone could find a way, harmless to humans, to do it? It's just that until now no one has found a way to do so. But does that mean we should give up looking for a way? I don't think it does mean that, especially if there are ways of potentially repelling bed bugs which no one has tried that can be tested quickly easily and cheaply...such as fabric softener sheets.

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 20:58:50
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    Nobugsonme - 45 minutes ago  » 
    ...
    Outside of a lab, repelling bed bugs is not generally a good idea.
    ...

    jrbtnyc said,

    Nobugs I think you didn't mean to say it exactly that way. Repelling bed bugs *would* be a good idea, wouldn't it, if someone could find a way, harmless to humans, to do it? It's just that until now no one has found a way to do so. But does that mean we should give up looking for a way? I don't think it does mean that, especially if there are ways of potentially repelling bed bugs which no one has tried that can be tested quickly easily and cheaply...such as fabric softener sheets.

    No, I really did mean to say that. There are substances that repel bed bugs but were told they're not a good idea.

    I am not an expert but this is my understanding: certain pesticides, or pesticides used in certain ways, can cause repellency. Within the home, if you repel bed bugs, my understanding is that they do not crawl under the door on their way to another location. They don't leave. They go deeper into your home.

    That means they are still there, waiting to bite another day.

    I don't hold out a lot of hope for a repellent that would be strong enough to keep bed bugs from biting, but weak enough not to drive them in deeper, and which at the same time could be easily and consistently used constantly to avoid bites, while nonetheless not affecting treatment protocols.

  9. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 21:54:45
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    Nobugsonme - 47 minutes ago  » 

    Nobugsonme - 45 minutes ago  » 
    ...
    Outside of a lab, repelling bed bugs is not generally a good idea.
    ...

    jrbtnyc said,
    Nobugs I think you didn't mean to say it exactly that way. Repelling bed bugs *would* be a good idea, wouldn't it, if someone could find a way, harmless to humans, to do it? It's just that until now no one has found a way to do so. But does that mean we should give up looking for a way? I don't think it does mean that, especially if there are ways of potentially repelling bed bugs which no one has tried that can be tested quickly easily and cheaply...such as fabric softener sheets.

    No, I really did mean to say that. There are substances that repel bed bugs but were told they're not a good idea.
    I am not an expert but this is my understanding: certain pesticides, or pesticides used in certain ways, can cause repellency. Within the home, if you repel bed bugs, my understanding is that they do not crawl under the door on their way to another location. They don't leave. They go deeper into your home.
    That means they are still there, waiting to bite another day.
    I don't hold out a lot of hope for a repellent that would be strong enough to keep bed bugs from biting, but weak enough not to drive them in deeper, and which at the same time could be easily and consistently used constantly to avoid bites, while nonetheless not affecting treatment protocols.

    The given would be that the repellent, if it drives them deeper waiting to bite another day, still repels them when that other day comes, so they don't feed that day either, or any day after, so they starve or have to disperse. If, let's say, it's a single-family home so if they have to disperse, it's outside where there's no hope they can find food, then haven't we gained something? Haven't we then gained a lot? Or if they're still waiting inside our home, maybe a spider eats them (see other thread from today), or a fungus attacks them, or etc.? I think we underestimate what a tough life bb's will have if we make it really really hard for them to feed, such as by finding a repellent, harmless to humans, which really repels them. Some folks seem to think bb's have magical powers, always to get around any barrier we throw up against them, so we might as well not look for ways to put up barriers against them - nothing short of going after them on their turf and killing every single one *right now* is acceptable - but that's difficult and expensive whereas passive means of keeping them from feeding might be simple and inexpensive and thus might be realistic and practical for a lot of folks where the other chase-and-kill-every-last-one-right-now approach really isn't.

  10. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 8 2011 22:47:39
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    The given would be that the repellent, if it drives them deeper waiting to bite another day, still repels them when that other day comes, so they don't feed that day either, or any day after, so they starve or have to disperse

    Without studying the behavior of bed bugs in general, this seems to be a logical conclusion. However, it's important to remember that we have plenty of evidence that bed bugs can slow their metabolisms down. (Often, people refer to this as going dormant, which isn't maybe the best way to phrase it since it's not so much dormancy as changing the rate at which they used food and air and such.)

    Bed bugs who get put off from their food source can do whatever it is that they do to lessen the need to feed. If they've fed at least once, they can live in that state for a very, very long time.

    I think that's why Nobugsonme pointed out that even if fabric softener sheets were shown to have a repellent effect on bed bugs, which they haven't been shown to have at all, repelling bed bugs outside a lab is a bad idea.

    If you repel bed bugs such that they dig in deeper and slow their metabolisms, the chances of the repellent substance continuing to work for several years is very low.

    If, let's say, it's a single-family home so if they have to disperse, it's outside where there's no hope they can find food

    I can't speak to the environmental pressures on bed bugs, but putting bed bugs outside a structure doesn't seem to me to be a guaranteed way to get rid of an infestation by starvation. I may live in an urban environment, but I'm very aware of the possums that live in the tree outside my building and the raccoons that regularly forage in our yard. Those are both animals that I would imagine a bed bug could feed on if they didn't have preferred prey around, to say nothing of the neighborhood cats.

    As a result, it seems a bit of hyperbole to say that bed bugs outside have no hope of finding food.

    Or if they're still waiting inside our home, maybe a spider eats them (see other thread from today), or a fungus attacks them, or etc.?

    I don't think wanting a treatment plan that involves a more certain probability of death to bed bugs than hoping a spider will eat them is unrealistic.

    I'm fairly confident that if there were a simple, inexpensive fix to bed bug problems, we would have found it by now. It's clear from the posts we see on the boards of people who are clearly in massive stress and anxiety about bed bugs that plenty of people out there have tried the commonly available solutions; I'm fairly sure if they worked, word would get out here very, very quickly.

    going after them on their turf and killing every single one *right now* is acceptable - but that's difficult and expensive whereas passive means of keeping them from feeding might be simple and inexpensive

    Given the way that bed bugs can slow their metabolisms down and exist for long periods of time without feeding, it seems to me that trying to keep them from feeding for the entire length of time that would be required is at least as difficult (if not more) than going after them and trying to kill all of them.

  11. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Jul 9 2011 1:51:21
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    jrbtnyc,

    I think I have pretty much covered it as best I can in my last sentence:


    I don't hold out a lot of hope for a repellent that would be strong enough to keep bed bugs from biting, but weak enough not to drive them in deeper, and which at the same time could be easily and consistently used constantly to avoid bites, while nonetheless not affecting treatment protocols.

    Even if you remove treatment protocols from the mix (because you believe, IMO quite wrongly, that one can simply repel bed bugs indefinitely and never worry about having to kill them all), the sentence is still my best answer.

    buggyinsocal added a lot of wisdom with her response.


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