A local Vancouver company’s natural solution for bedbugs is finding success in the United States – but you won’t find it anywhere in Canada.
Terramera Biosciences was started by Karn Manhas in 2009 with a focus on providing natural alternatives to chemical bug control products. The company released a product called Cirkil for professional extermination use. They are now in the early stages of test marketing a less concentrated spray version for home and travel use called Proof. It costs $11.99USD for a 3-ounce bottle.
The product is still pending approval by the Canadian government.
The key to the success of Cirkil and Proof is neem oil, said Terry Taciuk, head of marketing at Terramera. The oil comes from a tree that grows in South Asia and Africa and has been used for hundreds of years in wound care and as an anti-inflammatory. The oil contains some natural pesticides but is not effective as a pesticide on its own.
Concocting the right formula of natural ingredients
“By using the right formulation, were able to do some things that the standard neem oil just can’t do,” said Taciuk. “It uses a range of ingredients, all of which are natural, organic and made to food grade standards.”
The product is most effective on the market because it kills bedbug eggs and bedbugs unlike traditional chemical methods, said Taciuk. It’s been used in thousands of bedbug cases in the United States by professional exterminators.
“The US Department of Agriculture and the [Environmental Protection Agency] saw how valuable our product was, so they actually fast tracked their approval process for Cirkil,” said Taciuk.
Still searching for an environmentally safe option
Chris Ashby of Local Pest Control (formerly BC Bug) in Vancouver said, “We haven’t found any environmentally safe chemical that works.” He notes that some natural products have some effectiveness, bot not enough. Heat treatments are also an option, although it is more expensive than chemical ones.
Ashby said that if it worked, he personally wouldn’t hesitate to use the product if it was available in Canada-if it worked.
“We’re always looking for a non-chemical way. We’ve seen so many of them come and go and very few of them work. But if someone’s found something that actually works, great. Absolutely.”
Reported by Vanessa Szpurko