FTC Takes Action Against Companies Marketing Allegedly Unproven Natural Bed Bug and Head Lice Treatments

FTC Takes Action Against Companies Marketing Allegedly Unproven Natural Bed Bug and Head Lice Treatments

Cedar, Cinnamon, Lemon Grass, Peppermint, and Clove Oil? There’s No Proof They Will Eradicate Bed Bugs, Agency Says

The Federal Trade Commission filed deceptive advertising charges against two  marketers of remedies for bed bug infestations, who allegedly failed to back up overhyped claims that they could prevent and eliminate infestations using natural ingredients, such as cinnamon and cedar oil.  One marketer also allegedly made misleading claims that its products were effective against head lice.

In one of the two cases, RMB Group, LLC and its principals have agreed to settle the charges relating to their “Rest Easy” bed bug products.  In the case Product tagline: Rest Easy – kills and repels bed bugsagainst Cedarcide Industries, Inc. and others, challenging their marketing of “Best Yet!” bed bug and head lice treatments, the defendants have not settled, and the FTC is beginning litigation against them.

Bed bugs have been a growing public health pest in recent years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  Consumers plagued with bed bugs experience considerable stress, discomfort, and expense in attempting to rid themselves of these pests, and many are unaware of the complex measures needed to prevent and control them, according to the EPA.

Consumers concerned about bed bugs also should see the FTC publication,   “Good Night, Sleep Tight, and Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite . . . Your Wallet,” which urges caution about advertisements that offer quick solutions, and provides advice to consumers for treating bed bug infestations.

Also, as children head back to school this fall, the FTC urges parents to carefully research products that claim to treat head lice infestations.

In both cases, the FTC charged the marketing companies – as well as the individuals behind them – with deceptive advertising for claiming that their products can  stop and prevent bed bug infestations.  The Cedarcide defendants also are charged with making deceptive claims that their product can stop and prevent head lice infestations, and that the federal government endorses and is affiliated with their product.

The Cedarcide Industries, Inc. defendants market BEST Yet!, a line of cedar-oil-based liquid products they claim will treat and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations.  The defendants sell the product to consumers nationwide.  They also sell it to hotels and other commercial establishments for treating bed bugs, and to school districts for treating head lice.  Consumers can buy the product online, by phone, at the Cedarcide website , and at Amazon.com.  The cost of the products ranges from $29.95 for the quart-sized spray bottle to $3,394.95 for a hotel-motel bed bug eradication kit.

One radio advertisement for the product stated:Product label: “green, environmentally friendly Rest Easy – kills and repels bed bugs. For organic use. Rest assured, bed bugs no more!” showing a woman asleep in bed.

“In light of the recent bed bug media frenzy that has all of us nervous, you need to
know that bed bug prevention and eradication relief are available.  So let’s not all freak out.  All you need is Best Yet from CedarCide.com. . . .  Best Yet was developed at the request of the USDA for our military, as a solution for killing sand fleas. But guess what, it’s equally deadly to bed bugs, larvae and eggs.”

The FTC complaint charges that the Cedarcide defendants make:

  • unsupported claims that Best Yet!is effective at stopping and preventing bed bug infestations and that it is more effective than synthetic pesticides at doing so;
  • false claims that scientific studies prove Best Yet!is effective at stopping and preventing bed bug infestations, and that it is more effective than synthetic pesticides at doing so;
  • a false claim that the Environmental Protection Agency has warned consumers to avoid all synthetic pesticides for treating bed bug infestations;
  • unsupported claims that Best Yet!is effective in stopping and preventing head lice infestations, killing head lice eggs, dissolving the glue that binds head lice eggs (known as nits) to hair, and killing head lice and their eggs in a single treatment; and
  • false claims that scientific studies prove Best Yet! is effective in stopping and preventing head lice infestations.
  • false claims that Best Yet!was invented for the U.S. Army at the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and that the USDA has acknowledged the product as the number one choice of bio-based pesticides.

The Cedarcide complaint names Dave Glassel and several companies he controls:  Springtech 77376, LLC; Cedarcide Industries, Inc.; Chemical Free Solutions, LLC; and Cedar Oil Technologies Corp.

RMB Group, LLC marketed Rest Easy, a liquid solution containing cinnamon, lemongrass, peppermint, and clove oils.  The company sold it to retail chains Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, and Big Lots, which in turn sold it to consumers primarily for use when staying in hotel rooms.  The product was sold in a 16-ounce spray bottle, which cost $6.99 to $9.99, and a 2-ounce twin pack, which retailed for $5.99 to $7.77.  It also was sold in a gallon jug for approximately $50.

A video ad appearing on a company-sponsored website stated:

“Did you Know … Bed bugs can survive up to 10 months without feeding. They can lay between 5 and 12 eggs per day … per bug! Why take a chance on being their next meal when you travel? Or having your business shut down because somebody unwittingly brought them in? Rest Easy … is a real GREEN All-Natural, Non-Pesticide, designed as a preventative for just these potential problems. Rest Easy And rest assured, bed bugs no more!”

The FTC complaint charges that the RMB Group defendants make unsupported claims that Rest Easy kills and repels bed bugs, and that a consumer can create a barrier against them by spraying the product around a bed.

Under the settlement, the defendants are barred from:

  •  representing that Rest Easy or any other pesticide kills or repels bed bugs or creates a barrier against them, and
  • making any claims about the performance of such a product,

unless the representations are true and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

The settlement imposes a $264,976 judgment against the Stuart, Florida-based RMB Group, LLC, and its owners, Howard and Bruce Brenner.  The judgment is suspended because of the defendants’ inability to pay.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint against the RMB Group LLC defendants and approving the proposed consent decree was 4-1, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch voting no.  The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint against the Cedarcide defendants was 5-0.  The FTC filed both complaints and the proposed settlement order for the RMB defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on September 5, 2012. The proposed settlement order is subject to court approval.

NOTE:  The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest.  The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law.  The stipulated order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated.  Stipulated orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

VIA: FTC Takes Action Against Companies Marketing Allegedly Unproven Natural Bed Bug and Head Lice Treatments

Ron Box Retires from Hulett

Ron Box Retires from Hulett

Box, director of training at Hulett Environmental Services, retired after a life-long career in pest control, including the last 15 years at Hulett.

Ron Box being recognized during his retirement celebration.

Editor’s note: Hulett Environmental Services announced that James Ronald “Ron” Box, Board Certified Entomologist, retired after a life-long career in pest control, including the last 15 years at Hulett, which submitted the following article recalling Box’s involvement in the pest control and some of his many contributions.

Little did Ron Box know back in 1959, when as a 12-year-old kid helping his Dad spray his first lawn that his life-long career in pest control would stretch all the way into 2012, and would have such a positive impact on families living throughout Florida. He worked for his Dad throughout high school and after serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force. Married with three children to support, he went on to earn his Associate of Science degree in Pest Control Technology from Broward Community College where he was introduced to the research and teaching aspects of the industry. He also taught a couple of semesters for entomologist, Doug Palmer.

He bought his Dad’s company in 1978, and later sold the business in 1985, with every intention of enjoying an early retirement playing golf in the Bahamas. But, he couldn’t stay away, especially when he saw a need to improve the living conditions around him that were being destroyed by natural pests both on Grand Bahama Island and in Florida.

After returning to the U.S., he wanted to get back into doing what he knew best, and while thumbing through a copy of Pest Control Magazine, Ron found an opportunity to learn a new treatment to get rid of dry wood termites using liquid nitrogen to kill these invasive insects. Later, he worked as the manager of 26 technicians who serviced properties for a large management group.

Then in 1997, he heard about an opening to work for Tim Hulett with Hulett Environmental Services, and that was when Ron found himself presented with opportunities to do more of what he loved to do — research, training, and education. Tim recognized Ron’s talent as an educator and put him in charge of the company’s training and certification programs.

In 1998, Ron’s wife, Jeannine, suggested perhaps now was the best time to pursue his lifelong dream, to go to the University of Florida and earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Entomology. When Ron explained to Tim what he wanted to do, Tim graciously arranged it so that Ron would have time to do it. And though it took Ron until 2001 to finish his degree, shortly after graduating, he took his board examinations with the Entomological Society of America, and in 2002 he was awarded his Board Certified Entomologist status.

When asked about his experience working at Hulett, Ron replied, “It’s the esprit de corps and I love the people. They’re very upbeat and driving, and so is management. And our commitment to quality and service is unparalleled in the pest control industry.”

“Tim Hulett allowed me the opportunity to work with manufacturers, get involved with conducting trials, and dealing with Experimental Use Permits on new products such as Indoxacarb, as well as working with BASF on Phantom for its use on subterranean termites.,” added Ron, “and I have Tim to thank.” Ron was also involved in the first eradication program down in Davie, Florida, for the Florida Tree Termite, Nasutitermes corniger, where he worked on that project for close to five years, doing everything from the actual treating and through to the inspections. He was the first one in Palm Beach County to find, locate, and identify Coptotermes gestroi. Both Drs. Rudi Scheffrahn and Brian Cabrera helped him on that, which in turn, helped to expand their own research on Asian subterranean termites. He also identified the Heterotermes termite species in the Palm Beach area.

“You never had a dull moment at Hulett,” continued Ron, “there was always something going on, and it was always different. Whether it was writing the Certified Field Technician (CFT) Program, which is still in place at Hulett, or creating the support manuals to match up with the CFT manuals.”

As an industry leader, Tim Hulett knew that Ron was the man to create these comprehensive written programs. Ron has also mentored many of the certified operators he has trained while at Hulett, encouraging several of them to take their exams to become Associated Certified Entomologists. He also helped Chris Scocco get his own Board Certified Entomologist status.

Now that Ron and his wife, Jeannine, have retired to Georgia, she’s planning to expand her candy making business, Gifts of Love — and plans to sell her chocolates online and through local retail outlets. While Ron enjoys being the chief chocolate taster, he’s happier doing projects around the house and in the garden tending his small orchard of fruit trees — all the while keeping a watchful eye out for any pesky bugs.

Hulett is grateful for Ron’s many years of dedicate service to the company, for inspiring his co-workers, and his commitment to helping Florida families. He will be sorely missed and everyone at Hulett wishes him the best always.

BASF: Pest Talk Featured Blog

Blog(s) We Like: “Hulett Environmental Services” and “AB-Con Termite & Pest Control Professionals”

Sep 19, 2012  |  Pest Problems & Trends  | 

As leaves start turning colors and the nip of fall creeps into the air, a signal is sent to bugs:  it’s time to seek refuge.

When temperatures drop outdoors, pests come indoors. The average home becomes a destination for infestation. And like most unwelcomed guests, insects aren’t eager to leave.

To help you eradicate these pests, we’re featuring two “Blogs We Like” this month, one from Hulett Environmental Services and the other from AB-Con Termite & Pest Control Professionals. These blogs contain information to help Pest Management Professionals as summer turns to fall, including:

  • Information on pests and how to eliminate them
  • The latest on pest control products
  • Pests in the news
  • Prevention vs. control

Tips to keep you bed bug free during school

  • Fully inspect your suitcases prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially if you have traveled during the summer. Be sure that any clothes that may have been previously packed in the suitcase have been washed and dried in hot temperatures .
  • Before putting your sheets on your dormitory bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs.
  • If you are considering bringing “secondhand” furniture to campus, properly inspect it to insure that a pest problem, such as bed bugs, is not the reason for its “secondhand” status. If you see anything suspect, do not bring it to campus.

Visit http://site1.das-group.com/commercial_pest_control/bed-bug-control.asp?type=commercial to learn more about bed bug control

 

Finding a reputable pest management and lawn care company for your company

Choosing a pest control professional to share in identification and treatment responsibilities for a possible pest infestation is an important decision for your business. The recommendations provided below will help you to better understand how to select a pest control professional and make a decision that best serves your business:

  • Always work with a qualified, licensed pest control professional in your area; evaluate companies that are members of national, state or local pest management associations.
  • Ask other business owners to recommend pest control companies they have used successfully and how satisfied they were with the service.
  • If a sizable amount of money is involved, get bids from several pest management firms.
  • Don’t rush a decision. Since you are paying for professional knowledge and skill, look for someone whose judgment you can trust.
  • Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.
  • Buy value, not price. Beware of bargains that sound too good to be true.

 

Information on Rugose Spiraling Whitefly

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly

http://palmbeachcountyextension.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/img_11463.jpg?w=300&h=225

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly – Customer Information Sheet

In March, 2009, a whitefly (Aleurodicus rugioperculatus Martin: Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), was collected in Miami‐Dade County from gumbo limbo. This was the first report of this insect on the U.S. continent and it is believed to originate from Central America. Since the initial find, there have been numerous other reports, all in Miami‐Dade County. It will likely spread to other southern Florida counties.

The most noticeable symptoms of an infestation of this whitefly is the abundance of
the white, waxy material covering the leaves and also excessive sooty mold. Like other similar insects, these whiteflies will produce “honeydew”, a sugary substance, which causes the growth of sooty mold. The actual effect of an infestation on the health of a plant is unknown; however, whiteflies in general can cause plant decline, defoliation and branch dieback.
What are Whiteflies?
They are small, winged insects that belong to the Order Hemiptera which also includes aphids, scales, and mealybugs. These insects typically feed on the underside of leaves with their “needle-like” mouthparts. Whiteflies can seriously injure host plants by sucking nutrients from the plant causing wilting, yellowing, stunting, leaf drop, or even death. There are more than 75 different whiteflies reported in Florida.
NOTE: This is not the same whitefly (ficus whitefly) that is currently causing defoliation and branch dieback of ficus in south Florida. via UFL

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly Control

A Guide to Identifying Common Ant Species

Ants 101

A Guide to Identifying Common Ant Species

Ants 101

There is one houseguest that no one wants, but nearly everyone gets – ants! A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) revealed that this pest is everywhere. In fact, ants have been deemed the #1 nuisance pest in America.

With more than 700 species in the United States, it’s not surprising that ants can quickly become a source of disgust, frustration and concern for homeowners. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that this pest can also pose health and property risks – from food contamination to costly property damage.

Luckily, there are many ways to effectively reduce the potential development of a major ant infestation. To prevent these unwelcome visitors from invading your home, eliminate moisture or standing water near the home by repairing leaking hose bibs and other supply lines, downspouts, drain lines and air conditioner condensate lines. Also, keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house, as ants often use these branches to get into your home.

Homeowners must pay close attention to signs of an infestation and take action if ants are found. The first step to eliminating an infestation is to identify the ant species, which will help determine the necessary course of treatment. However, this can be a challenge for someone without proper training. You should contact a pest control professional to assist with the pest problem, but you can also use this guide to help determine the ant species:

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants

  • Appearance: Argentine ants are dark brown and between 1/16-1/4 inch in size.
  • Region: This species is found mainly throughout the southeastern United States.
  • Habitat: Argentine ant colonies are located in wet environments near a food source.
  • Threat: Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food and excrete a musty odor when crushed

 

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant

  • Appearance: Carpenter ants are usually reddish black in color and 5/8 inch in size.
  • Region: This species is located throughout the United States, but is most common in cool, damp climates found in the northern part of the country.
  • Habitat: Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources and frequently enter buildings through damaged wood, cracks around doors and windows, or holes in a structure meant for wires. They will also crawl along shrubs or tree limbs that touch a structure far above the ground.
  • Threat: Carpenter ants can cause severe property damage as they tunnel through wood to build nests. However, the extent and cost the damage usually depends on the number of nests inside the structure and how long they’ve been active.

Crazy Ants

Crazy Ant

  • Appearance: Caribbean crazy ants get their common name from the worker’s habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food. Crazy ants are dark brown to black in color with a gray sheen. They range from 1/16-1/8 inch in size.
  • Region: Crazy ants are found throughout the United States as this species is highly adaptable to both dry and moist habitats.
  • Habitat: Crazy ants tend to enter homes in the autumn or after rainfall because both conditions reduce the supply of honeydew – their main food source. Inside, these ants usually nest underneath floors or carpeting. Outdoors, the nests are shallow and commonly found in soil under objects or next to foundations.
  • Threat: These ants do not pose a health threat, but if they gain entry to a structure, they can become a nuisance.

Odorous House Ants

Odorous House Ant

  • Appearance: Odorous house ants are dark brown to black in color and range in size from 1/16-1/8 inch.
  • Region: This species is found in all regions of the United States.
  • Habitat: Typically living for several years, odorous house ants are known to make their homes in exposed soil. They also nest in walls cracks and under floors inside homes.
  • Threat: These ants do not pose a public health risk or cause structural damage to buildings, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided. In addition, they give off a rotten coconut-like smell when crushed, which is why they are known as “odorous” ants.

Pavement Ants

Pavement ant

  • Appearance: Pavement ants are darkish brown to black in color and are about 1/8 inch long.
  • Region: This species is found throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: Pavement ants get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement. They can infest structures by entering through holes in the concrete.
  • Threat: These black pavement ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.

Red Imported Fire Ants

Imported Fire Ant

  • Appearance: Fire ants are dark reddish brown in color and range from 1/8-3/8 inch long.
  • Region: This species is found in the southern United States from Maryland to Texas, California and New Mexico.
  • Habitat: Red imported fire ants build their nest mounds outdoors in landscape areas or near a structural foundation. They can also gain entry to a building through holes or cracks in the exterior structure.
  • Threat: Red imported fire antsattack with a painful sting when their nests are disturbed. The sting often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Anyone allergic to insect stings will react more severely.

Ants are social insects that live in large colonies, so what may seem like a small infestation can quickly become a major pest problem for homeowners. If you suspect an ant infestation, don’t wait to take action. An infestation will continue to grow without proper treatment. Rather, be sure to contact a licensed pest professional to assist in proper identification and treatment of the species.