Caveat emptor in the bed bug arena: more sprays and seat covers

by nobugsonme on June 1, 2011 · 9 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in theaters

Bedbugger Forums readers often ask about whether this spray or that spray will kill bed bugs.

Quite a lot of things seem to effectively kill bed bugs if they’re sprayed directly. (Spraying them directly is not very easy, however, and this is why other methods are generally needed to get rid of bed bugs.)

However, it’s worth noting that even products promoted as contact killers are not all equally effective or quick-acting.

NBC’s Andrew Siff reported that

A Long Island inventor told NBC New York his product, which combines cinnamon and sea salt with some other “secret ingredients” he wouldn’t name, slays most bedbugs on contact.

“We do show a 98 percent kill rate, many times 100 percent,” said Stewart Barnett, inventor of Micro-Armor All Natural Bed Bug Spray.

And yet the following video which accompanied Siff’s story showed an M&M Environmental employee repeatedly spraying a single bed bug repeatedly with this product, as it continued walking around.

One of the M&M employees quips,

“We have a point-blank shot at the bed bug and he’s not dying!”

And his colleague intones,

“He’s like Rocky Balboa.”

And in response, Andrew Siff says Barnett claimed you need to make direct contact with the bed bug ten to fifteen times with the spray.

Ten to fifteen sprays to kill a bed bug? I think I’ll just smack them, thanks.

You can watch the video here:

(If video does not display, you can view it on NBC’s site.)

The NBC story also mentions the Seat Defender (yet another seat cover) which is being marketed by Pest Away online and in various NYC retail stores.

Seat Defender’s About page says the product is

… specifically engineered to protect you from Bed Bugs in almost any public or private seating environment.

And that

Seat Defender allows you to occupy a public seat at anytime and in any place – without any worries that these parasites will attach themselves to you and your belongings.


With Seat Defender you can once again sit back and relax – without worry in public settings where bed bugs are often found.

Seat Defender is eco-friendly and fully recycleable. No harsh chemicals or pestisides are used to keep you completely safe from these highly undesireable pests.

Put your mind at ease and sit back knowing you’ve taken necessary precaution with Seat Defender.

[Emphasis added.]

“Protect you from bed bugs,” “occupy a public seat … without any worries,” “to keep you completely safe” — keep in mind that a product which protected you from bed bugs and kept you completely safe from bed bugs would have to not only keep bed bugs from biting you in the theater, but also keep them from coming home with you in your clothing or belongings.

As I noted in regard to the Bug Off Seat Cover, even if the product does work to keep bed bugs which are harboring on your own seat from biting you or climbing into your clothing or stuff, it cannot protect you from bed bugs which may climb onto your body or belongings from the floor or neighboring seats.

That means it cannot remove the danger of being bitten in a public place, or of taking bed bugs home.

The claims on the product website may encourage consumers to believe that while they use this product, they can be confident they can go to a theater with no danger of encountering bed bugs or taking them home.

And that’s simply not true.

As with the Bug Off Seat Cover, we would need to see independent testing data to prove bed bugs could not actually walk across the cover and feed.

But such data won’t change the fact that bed bugs can still climb up from the floor onto your leg or from an armrest onto your arm, or from the floor into your shoe or bag, as you sit on one of these covers.

The Federal Trade Commission urges consumers to use caution when choosing bed bug services or products.

1 KillerQueen June 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

lol …. If the bug is really nasty? Really? Really?

2 nobugsonme June 2, 2011 at 3:00 am

Yes, that was a classic moment, KQ.

3 Chuckie494 June 2, 2011 at 4:00 am

what are the odds I just killed a full grown bed bug as I was opening this email and my place was fumigated last week . why isnt alcohol ever mentioned as a contact killer because it is and its cheap . I have a simular story about spraying a bug point blank with a spray that cost me $22 not including shipping and it didnt even phase him/her the bug a shot of alcohol and you can see them shrivel it just doesent kill eggs so a constant and vigilent respraying is needed

4 CarpathianPeasant June 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm


nobugsonme, check this out. I don’t have enough connection to do anything.

5 CarpathianPeasant June 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm



That is, I can’t get videos at all. There was no text story listed. All I have is 100 seconds to post something.

Sorry to go off topic, but it looked important.

The Peasant

6 nobugsonme June 3, 2011 at 1:06 am


91% rubbing alcohol works well as a contact killer.

However, it is flammable and people have set their homes on fire while using it to fight bed bugs. It’s important to be cautious! (Overusing it might also cause problems due to the fumes.)

No contact kill spray makes a good primary treatment method, but can be helpful to kill bed bugs one comes in contact with directly.

I hope you’re also getting other forms of treatment, because trying to kill all your bed bugs with a contact kill spray is very difficult and may mean your bed bug problems go on for a long time.

7 nobugsonme June 3, 2011 at 1:07 am

Hi Peasant,

The video worked. I have seen a lot of coverage of this story this week and will consider doing a post on it. Thanks!

8 Winston O. Buggy June 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Yes indeed it is a wild west out there with some of these products. Like patches that work if you don’t breathe and seat covers that may work if you stand on your head. I think the
old adage of if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t with some of this stuff.

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