I joined a few bed bug forums on LinkedIn to try and better understand what the thinking is around managing bed bug related issues. Everything from from consumers who have been bitten and are concerned with health related issues to Pest Control Operators and there need to understand best practices associated with results, costs and customer satisfaction. This week there was an "expert" who published a blog piece about bed bug encasements which was also shared in a LinkedIn Bed Bug Forum area. I found the article interesting, thought provoking one specific section of the Q&A format hit the mark for me and the work I have invested in at CleanBrands.
The following comes from the blog posting I read..
Q: The ones that state “Certified Bed Bug Proof”; is there a “standard” that all labs and universities have to follow in order to test these encasements for their locking mechanism efficacy?
A NO! Matter of fact there is no prerequisite and/or set standards or requirements for making these product manufacturers follow specific guidelines.
While this may be true, like hundreds of thousands of products available to consumers today, the absence of published guidelines for manufacturers to use should have no bearing on the efficacy or ability for a well made product to be developed and brought to market. While the guidelines may not exist, sound scientific principles are still available and can be used in the design and testing process for any bed bug proof encasement. In my opinion, consumers and PCO technicians shouldn't be concerned with guidelines, they should be concerned with the encasement brand's willingness to share data, provide independent testing and demonstrate a commitment to transparency about its test methods and results.
For example, many bedbug proof encasements claim that they are a "Class 1 Medical Device" listed with the FDA, which sounds important and impressive. Here is the truth, the FDA lists almost anything in the category of "Class 1" that doesn't need guidelines or independent test results to support its efficacy claims. So a paper cup, a bandage and flat cotton bed sheet are all "Class 1" FDA devices. So now how do you feel about reading it on the package?
Consumers and purchasing agents will always have a difficult time working their way through the marketing messages to get to the truth, so another way to get a sense of a Brand's commitment to excellence is to examine their warranty policies. Does the warranty that the bed bug encasement manufacturer offer support your expectation of the quality and value you are paying for? If you are paying in excess of $75-$100 for a high end bed bug encasement how long should that product be warrantied for? The manufacturer is illustrating to their customer their commitment to quality and craftsmanship by the length of their warranty policy. What can you conclude about a company that offers a 1 year warranty in a commercial setting versus a 10 year warranty?
In conclusion there are many different brands of encasements available, but there are a select few that really demonstrate the following key brand attributes that will provide value and performance over the long haul.
Online Test Methods for Each Claim Made
Online 3rd Party Test Results
Warranties that match your expectations
Use these key brand attributes to determine which bed bug proof encasement provider best matches your needs and expectations.