It's been a half-dozen years or so since bed bugs made a big, unwelcome comeback into the homes and consciousness of NYC apartment dwellers. In the 2011 fiscal year, complaints to 311 peaked at 13,140. By mid-2013, the number of 311 complaints dropped to 9,233, according to this article, with pest control experts attributing the fall to better education about how to spot bed bugs and what to do if you've got them.
For this update of our Top 10 Bed Bug Products for New Yorkers list--first posted back in 2011 at the height of the bed bug epidemic--we checked back in with Adam Greenberg, president of USBedBugs.com, one of the country's largest online retailers of anti-bed-bug gear.
"There’s not as much panic from New Yorkers as there was in 2010 and 2011," Greenberg confirms. "The panic aspect has migrated west as New York has made it through the worst part, which was the lack of education and awareness about bed bugs. We spend less time talking consumers off the ledge when often times they are not even sure they have bed bugs. Most, but not all, have become more educated about bed bugs and what their telltale signs are."
Product-wise, says Greenberg, "It has become less popular to purchase sprays to try and keep bed bugs away as they are not very effective unless applied in a targeted manner by a professional. The business from New York now tends to be more from people that are sure they have a problem and from building managers needing products for ongoing control."
So what are New York City residents ordering most when the bed bugs start biting these days?
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Here the top 10 bed bug-fighting products, starting with the best selling:
- BugZip Luggage & Clothing Encasements (pictured above) ($9.99 to $19.99)– People who've experienced bed bugs are more likely than others to take precautions when traveling, says Greenberg, and though they're not 100% bed-bug-proof (which would require a pricier cloth zipper), these BugZip cases provide loads more protection in hotels than spray repellents. They're also popular for zipping up clothing in the bedroom while prepping for treatment from the exterminator.
- Protect-A-Bed BugLock Protection Pack ($80.99 and up)– These days the top-selling mattress and boxspring encasements are sold as a kit too. The kit includes covers for both mattress and box springs. These sport the same patented BugLock zipper as on the more expensive Protect-A-Bed Allerzip ($80.99 and up for a single mattress/boxspring cover).
- PackTite Heater above ($309)– Kills bed bugs on all non-washable items like books, CDs, toys, shoes, dry-clean only clothing and more. Next to a good bottle of Scotch, this is a bed bug sufferer’s best friend.
- Bedbug Beacon CO2 Monitor ($49.95)– Lures bed bugs out of walls before you move into an apartment or after treatment to help make sure they are all gone. An entomologist from BedBugCentral.com told BrickUnderground that these are about 80% effective, and suggests hiring a reputable bed-bug sniffing dog as well.
- ClimbUp Insect Interceptors (Start at $21.25)– Plastic cups that slide under bed posts and sofa legs. They prevent bed bugs from climbing onto furniture and trap them so you can show your exterminator, landlord, etc.
- PackTite Passive Bed Bug Monitor ($19.95)– Small bed bug "hotel" that detects bed bugs in as little as a few days. Use one per bed and only needs replacing if bed bugs are found.
- PackTite Closet Bed Bug Heater ($669) – Holds about twice as much as the original PackTite Heater and is large enough to accommodate hanging clothes. Heats up much faster as well.
- Bed Bug Blue Fecal Spot Detection Kit ($28.95)– Swab any mysterious black spots with Bed Bug Blue to find out if they are from bed bugs in only 1 minute.
- Vapamore Dry Vapor Steamer ($299)– Popular with DIYers. Used on or around bedding to safely kill bed bugs and eggs and cut down costs of exterminator treatments. (Note: This is not an all-in-one solution to your bed bug problem, as bed bugs have plenty of hiding places out of reach of steamers.)
- Bed Bug 911 Laundry Treatment ($23.95)– Kills all bugs in the wash, even before you transfer clothes to the dryer.
*Affiliate sales disclosure: In the course of our extensive coverage of NYC's bed bug epidemic, BrickUnderground has established an affiliate relationship with USBedBugs.com, which pays BrickUnderground a portion of sales generated here, at no additional cost to you.