Common Bed Bug Scams and How to Avoid Them

With bed bugs on the rise, so too are the number of scams preying on concerned homeowners.

Scammers take advantage of homeowners’ (and apartment dwellers’) fear of having a bed bug infestation by providing unproven or ineffective products, charging more for “bed bug dogs” that aren’t certified, and even treating for an “infestation” that doesn’t really exist.

Let’s talk about bed bug scams: how to spot them, how to avoid them, and what you should do instead.

Keep reading to find out!

How to Spot Bed Bug Scams

There are a few common bed bug scams to watch out for, below.

Unproven, Untested, Ineffective Products

Greedy companies scam their customers by convincing them to buy products that haven’t been proven to get rid of bed bugs. These companies do this through “deceptive advertising”: overstating a product’s effectiveness or even making a claim that’s entirely false.

Many of these companies push “natural” products and prey on people’s fear of using harsh chemicals and pesticides. (Pesticides are very safe when used appropriately.)

The Federal Trade Commission has fined numerous companies selling the following “bed bug remedies”:

  • Ionic, ultrasonic, and electromagnetic bedbug eliminators
  • Cedar, cinnamon, lemongrass, peppermint, and clove oil-based bed bug eradicators

These products just don’t work on bed bugs!

So how do you tell the difference between a product that works and one that doesn’t? Remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Beware of overblown claims and products promising to get rid of bed bugs with little to no effort. Also be wary of “natural” products that promise to work just as well as insecticides. It’s likely a scam product!

Untrained “Bed Bug Dogs”

A dog’s sense of smell is amazing. That’s why they’re used to track people, find drugs, and—now—identify bed bugs in a home. This is a legitimate way to find bed bugs as long as the dog is trained and certified.

However, some unscrupulous companies looking for easy money do bed bug inspections using any old dog! These scams allow the exterminator to charge more for the inspection. Worse still, some scams go as far as using the dog to “find” infestations that aren’t there! (We’ll talk about this more below.)

To make sure you’re working with a pest control company that’s on the up-and-up, ask to see their National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association certification. If they say they don’t have one, or won’t show you, it could be a scam. Also, make sure that the technician shows you evidence of bed bugs. Don’t set up treatment based on the word of a dog alone.

Ghost Bed Bug Infestations

Many homeowners suspect they have bed bugs, but aren’t sure. That’s because bed bugs are small and often confused with other insects. As a result, homeowners trust a pest control company to tell them whether or not they really have a bed bug infestation.

Scammers take advantage of this trust by telling homeowners their home has bed bugs, when it doesn’t. (Some scammers even plant “evidence” of bed bugs!) Then, the homeowner ends up spending hundreds or thousands to “fix” a problem that didn’t exist in the first place.

This is one scam you don’t want to fall for, but how can you spot it? Well, be wary of any of the following actions:

  • The exterminator or pest control company offers to inspect your home out of the blue (say, by showing up at your door)
  • The exterminator doesn’t do a thorough inspection before claiming bed bugs
  • The pest control company doesn’t show evidence of bed bugs (like setting out glue traps) before offering to treat your home
  • The technician doesn’t have data sheets or safety information about the pesticides used on hand
  • The technician won’t show you his or her license
  • The company doesn’t give you a written estimate or contract

It’s worth it to take the time to make sure a pest control company is reputable. Ask questions, look at online reviews, and get a referral from friends and family. You can even get a second opinion from a different company.

What to Do If You Have Bed Bugs

We have many posts on our blog to help you identify, locate, and get rid of bed bugs. A good way to avoid being scammed is by being informed. Knowledge is power!

Here are some resources to help you get started:

Feel free to call and ask our knowledgeable technicians your questions! We’re happy to help.

Contact Us Today

The best way to avoid is scam is to work with a company trusted in the community—like Scherzinger Pest Control. We’ve been helping homeowners in your area for more than 80 years.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-888-681-1925 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.