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Foggers, "bug bombs" are no match for bedbugs, scientists say

These tiny, blood-sucking bugs are not unusual on campus. According to a 2007 survey conducted by a University of Kentucky professor, one-quarter of all exterminators have found infestations in college dorms. Bedbug infestations require professional help and are expensive to treat (Texas A&M had to shell out $27,000 to rid its dorms of the critters), but they are even harder to prevent. While pests that thrive on uncleanliness can be avoided by sealing food containers and minimizing clutter, bedbug infestations can occur for no apparent reason. The solution: Avoiding used furniture and carefully checking luggage after traveling may help prevent an infestation. If you or your dormmates already have bedbugs, washing linens in hot water and using mattress covers may keep bedbugs from spreading. More from 9 kid-friendly back-to-school lunches Wikimedia Commons

(CBS News) Got a bedbug infestation?Many people turn to do-it-yourself "bug bombs" or "foggers" to rid the creepy crawlers from their bedrooms, but a new study shows the products that have been sold for decades might not even work.

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"There has always been this perception and feedback from the pest-management industry that over-the-counter foggers are not effective against bed bugs and might make matters worse but up until now there has been no published data regarding the efficacy of foggers against bedbugs," said study author Susan Jones, an urban entomologist with the Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, said in a news release. "If you use these products, you will not get the infestation under control, you will waste your money, and you will delay effective treatment of your infestation."

Ohio State University researchers tested three commercially sold foggers, Hot Shot, Spectracide, and Eliminator for the study, published in the June 3 issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology. After testing the brands on five different groups of live bedbugs for two hours, the scientists saw the foggers had little if any effect on the insects.

Jone said bedbugs hide in cracks and crevices such as under sheets and mattresses, or deep in carpets where foggers won't reach. Bugs that do come in contact with the mist may be resistant to the pesticide and can survive, she said.

The bottom line? You might be wise to leave it to the pros.

"Bed bugs are among the most difficult and expensive urban pests to control. It typically takes a professional to do it right," Jones said. "Also, the ineffective use of these products can lead to further resistance in insects."

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also says to steer clear of bug bombs or foggers, saying they can make the problem worse by scattering bedbugs throughout your home.

Bedbugs feed off blood and survive for months without a meal, according to WebMD. Infestations often occur in hotels, nursing homes, hospitals and cruise ships where lots of people sleep. People can be allergic t o the bites, experiencing itching or in rare cases life-threatening anaphlyaxis.

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