A couple of days ago I was doing some projects around the house and needed an electrical outlet. The nearest outlet was occupied by a device that glowed green and had red and green flashing lights. For the last couple of years this device along with three others like it have been employed in the Xeno household to help keep us free of unwanted pests. Each had a quadrant of the house to guard.
So, what’s it like to live in South Florida pest free? I’m afraid you’ll have to ask someone else, because just now I am staring at one of these four devices and feeling a little foolish. Despite all evidence that they are useless, not to mention the 2 gallons or more of Ortho Home Defense I have purchased over the last couple of years, I have left these devices in place. Okay, so I’m feeling more than a little foolish.
About two years ago, following a particularly rainy summer we had become infested with all manner of insect species. Sugar ants, white-footed ants, palmettos and silverfish all found safe haven in the Xeno abode. The usually good natured Mrs. Xeno was getting testy, demanding that I do something about our little problem. I reminded her that our homeowners association sprayed for insects. She reminded me that this didn’t seem to be working.
So one sleepless night, I went down to the family room and put on the TV and there it was, an infomercial for Pest Offense – Electronic Pest Control. It sounded interesting. The infomercial showed how Pest Offense, once plugged into an outlet used the electrical wiring within the walls of your home to set up an invisible shield that interfered with the nervous systems of the unwanted pests and encouraged them to leave. Where would they go? I guess your neighbor’s house. Long story short I purchase four of the units for something in the area of $100.
It’s been awhile since I watched the infomercial but I do remember being told that within a very short while my home would be free of rodents, ants, roaches, silverfish, spiders, yada, yada, yada. Well I’m still waiting. Perhaps I was sleepy and got it wrong.
So, just yesterday I decided to visit their web-site, www.pestoffense.com and see if I was missing something. Apparently I was. You see, the company doesn’t actually say this is effective on any pests at all. What it does say is:
Consumers repeatedly tell us that they have had great success using the Pest Offense product to help control rats, mice and roaches. Others tell us of ants, spiders, squirrels, crickets, silverfish, water bugs, earwigs. Consumers are telling us that the Pest Offense product is an effective pest control product.
So you see it’s the consumers, not the company telling you that this product really works. Considering that a goodly number of our fellow citizens also claim to have been kidnapped by aliens or that NASA staged the moon landings on a movie lot, this is less than the evidence I would usually like to see before making such a purchase. And if you care to Google the company you’ll also find a site of testimonials of less than satisfied customers.
I could be wrong but I’d venture a guess that sometime in the past two years the FTC has had a heart to heart talk with the manufacturer, Best Offense Products, Inc.
Now, to the company’s credit they make no assertions of the products effectiveness against velociraptors.
The company goes on to say, ”PEST OFFense ™ is safe for most pets. However, please Do Not Use PEST OFFense ™ if your choice of pet is a hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, mink, chinchilla or other similar pet.”
What I’m about to tell you has never been told to the precious Mrs. Xeno. So should we meet at some future Meet & Greet held in South Florida (strong hint here) I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t mention it in her presence.
One of my hobbies is the making of ridiculously expensive soaps. I use the finest oils and butters in making them. Using the hot process method, the sodium hydroxide (lye) used in making these soaps is rendered harmless by the time the soap is placed in its mold to dry. This could get pretty technical but there’s little need for that here.
I do my drying/curing in my garage on a long counter top. What does this have to do with Pest Offense? Well it seems that in addition to my family members and friends who crave these soaps, I have another fan base, rodents!
Yes, it seems that either really big mice or small rats just love eating soap! On a number of occasions I noticed that the cut bars left to harden on the counter had been knawed along their edges. I suspected mice but hadn’t seen any. But, one night I walked into the garage, flipped on the light and there they were. It could have been a Viennese Table! And, what was only five feet or less away from the drying rack? You guessed it, a Pest Offense device I had placed there to help with the palmettos that seem to like Florida garages.
To finish the thought I began this review with, a fool and his money are soon parted. While I’m sure there are even sillier ways to waste your money, Pest Offense is sure to be in the run-off should there be one. When you get serious about controlling bugs around the house you'd do much better with Ortho Home Defense Max
Oh and the soap? It now dries in wire cages surrounded by an awfully effective rat poison. So far, so good. And remember, hush!
Update 12/2008 - While I haven't seen a TV promo for this product in quite some time, I have noticed several spots for a similar device known as the Riddex Plug-In Pest Repeller Unit - L1112. The difference? I'd bet that the FTC having bigger fish to fry this year, just hasn't gotten around to having a heart-to-heart talk with these guys. But be warned.
©Rudi Xeno 2006
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