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Anti-bedbug products: Useful or useless?

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Friday, October 8, 2010; 1:49 PM

With the rise of bedbugs comes the onslaught of new products to keep the pests away. Board-certified entomologist Wayne White tells us whether they're wasteful or worth it. (Items are sold through such online retailers as USBedbugs.com and Bedbugcentral, or big-box stores including Walgreens, Sears and Bed, Bath and Beyond.)

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Mattress and bed spring covers: White advocates the coverings as a first line of defense. About $70 for mattress cover, $35 for box spring.

Pillow protectors: Unnecessary. Bed bugs typically don't chill out in pillows, where there are too many disturbances for their taste. From $15.

Insect interceptor monitor: White, a fan of the multi-ring dish that fits under the legs of a bed, suggests packing a set in your luggage. ClimbUp charges $22 for a box of four.

Ziploc bags: Choose the sturdiest models with the best seal. About $5 for a dozen of the two-gallon variety.

Luggage encasement: Safeguards your luggage and any contents. BugZip offers large ($20) and medium sizes ($15), plus one for garment bags ($18).

Portable heating unit: PackTite's hot box fits the whole hog - luggage and personal belongings - and eradicates any interlopers inside and out. But with a price tag of about $300, it's a big investment.

Dissolvable laundry bag: White recommends the laundry bag made by GreenClean (from $17 for a 10-pack), which disintegrates in the wash. Caveat: The bugs can often survive the washer, so to be extra cautious, you need to toss it in the dryer first.

Luggage pesticide spray: White says to skip this unproven product. From $15.

Bed bug monitors: No need to go high-tech. NightWatch Bed Bug Monitor goes for about $400; the Bedbug Beacon Monitor is $50.


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