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Exhibitors: Some Bedbug Extermination Products Are ‘Snake Oil’

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Photo Of Bugs (AP Photo/Virginia Tech Department of Entomology)

Photo Of Bugs (AP Photo/Virginia Tech Department of Entomology)

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ROSEMONT, Ill. (CBS) — Organizers and exhibitors at the North American Bedbug Summit at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare are advising consumers to watch out for the snake oil.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, those who have been fighting bedbugs for a while say they’re noticing a new trend in the market.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

“Unfortunately, there is kind of a gold rush mentality,” said David James of PackTite, a 3-year-old Colorado company.

“You’re seeing, especially over the course of the last year a lot of products that are obviously rushed to market,” James said. “Some that, even if they weren’t rushed to market, they probably wouldn’t work.”

Among them are “vitamin B-1 or thiamin patches, where they say you can put a vitamin patch on your arm,” said Jeffrey White, technical director of Bedbug Central.

White says he doubts the claims of at least one company that wearing a patch can actually make anyone immune to bedbugs.

The portable unit made by James’ company uses heat to kill the bedbugs. James says it zips open so personal items can be placed inside, and the heat rises to a level that “is proven to kill all stages of bedbugs,” according to the Web site for the product.

The PackTite unit is marketed for use on luggage, sleeping bags, backpacks and purposes, loose clothing and other assorted items – even including craft supplies and tools.

At the opposite end of the temperature spectrum is Cryonite, manufactured by the Stern Environmental Group, which uses liquid carbon dioxide to freeze the bedbugs.

Organizers say 500 people – mostly from the hotel, hospital and housing industries — are attending the summit. That was twice last year’s attendance.

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