Nearly every client that is looking for a test on their bed bug mattress encasement will eventually ask about ‘certification’ of their product.   This was started by one company and one test several years ago.  The facts as I understand them are simply that the researcher that ran the test was not a degreed entomologist but instead took a standardized test so he was ‘Board Certified’… and history was made… the leap of ‘marketing’ was derived from the fact that the researcher was ‘certified’ and thereby somehow his test meant that the product was thereby ‘certified’.   That test created the now ubiquitous ‘bed bug certified’ claim but by no means was that any sort of true ‘certification program’.

To make matters worse, it is my least favorite test method on the face of the earth.   The researcher (with little-to-no previous experience and not part of a testing lab), just put bed bugs inside of the full mattress covered by the encasement and said ‘nothing came out.’ There was no control evidence to show that the 100 bed bugs he put in there were even alive at the end of the test, or if they would have possibly even gotten out of a fitted sheet.  There were no controls to show if any of those bugs would have likely escaped from a control encasement.  There was no human or surrogate human to entice the bugs out of the encasement.  And no, just because bed bugs get more and more hungry does NOT mean they become more active; the opposite is true.

I have offered a true certification program but no one has been interested. My offer for ‘certification’ is that I would buy your commercial product 2x per year and test it with our protocol (which has since been copied by other labs).  Assuming the product I randomly buy ‘off the shelf’ passed our standard tests, I would offer a certification for that year and that commercial product.  I can’t offer certification based on a prototype sample that I typically test.  Nor can I offer certification for life on a product that will certainly be changed over and over again to make improvements such as new fabrics, cost reductions, stitching changes, zipper changes, new manufacturing companies, etc. But, sadly, no product has ever gone through our certification process and there is no industry pressure for any companies to do so. This leaves new companies with the perils of deciding if they will try to say ‘certified’ simply because someone set up a rather questionable test method and someone early on came up with a market plan to call it ‘certified’.