Tag Archives: scam

Class action suit over Spartan Mosquito Eradicators

Spartan Mosquito, Jeremy Hirsch, and the Bonner Analytical Testing Company are targets of a $5 million class-action lawsuit for falsely advertising that Spartan Mosquito Eradicators kill mosquitoes.

Chris Bonner and Jeremy Hirsch
Chris Bonner (left) and Jeremy Hirsch (middle) demonstrating their invention.

The lawsuit is currently in the discovery phase, which means that Spartan Mosquito et al. are being compelled by the court to provide (if they have it) any experimental data that back up the efficacy claims. Plus hundreds of other similar documents that might establish a pattern of obscuring the lack of efficacy. Discovery phase ends on July 12, 2021. The meeting regarding settlement is on September 24, 2021. I doubt it will go to trial.

One reason the case is likely going to go against Spartan Mosquito is that scientists have confirmed that salt (the “active” ingredient) doesn’t kill mosquitoes. And another team of scientists has confirmed that the devices do not control mosquitoes. Both of these studies were peer reviewed. I am not aware of a single scientist or mosquito-control professional who thinks Spartan Mosquito Eradicators work. Even the American Mosquito Control Association knows the devices don’t work.

Select quotations from the complaint

  • “… the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator is a complete scam.”
  • “Product is ineffective for mosquito control because it does not kill mosquitoes …”
  • “Defendants are well-aware that the Product is ineffective yet sell it anyway in pursuit of profit and in clear disregard for public health and safety.”
  • “If Defendants’ claim of having solved one of mankind’s most vexing problems
    and greatest health challenges using just sugar, salt, and yeast sounds too good be true, that is because it is.”
  • “Defendants already know that the Product does not work. They have repeatedly
    commissioned efficacy tests which found that Defendants’ marketing claims were unsupported and that the Product did not work as advertised. However, they have suppressed publication of these findings using nondisclosure agreements and threats
  • “Spartan’s founder and spokesperson, Jeremy Hirsch, has made personal threats to at least one scientist involved in this research in order to intimidate him out of publicizing the results of his research.”

Legal teams

Spartan Mosquito and Jeremy Hirsch (inventor, chairman of the board, spokesperson) are represented by Edward Boyle and Anna Dimon (both of Venable LLP). Bonner Analytical Testing Company is represented by Rachel Bandli and Daniel Benson (both of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP). Bonner Analytical is named in the suit because some of the experiments were conducted at the facility (e.g., here’s Jeremy Hirsch in a lab coat at Bonner Analytical Testing Company). The attorney who filed the class-action is Yitzchak Kopel, and he seems to specialize on companies that make false mosquito-control claims.

Documents

May 2020

September 2020

February 24, 2021

March 10, 2021

March 22, 2021

  • Judge issues order denying the defendants’ motion to stay discovery

March 29, 2021

April 1, 2021

April 23, 2021

I plan on attending the trial.

September 14, 2021

Motion to postpone the settlement conference scheduled for September 24th until after judge rules whether to certify class action.

September 15, 2021

Judge rules to dismiss complaints against Jeremy Hirsch and Bonner Analytical Testing Company, but not against Spartan Mosquito. So the case goes forward.

Bag of water hanging from ceiling

15 mosquito-control strategies and devices that don’t work

Health officials love to remind people to use DEET and other CDC-approved repellents, but they tend to shy away from telling the public what doesn’t work. As a result, millions of people adopt ineffective techniques and gimmicky devices. These people are not only subjecting themselves to annoying mosquito bites, they are increasing the likelihood that family members will contract West Nile virus disease, Zika virus disease, eastern equine encephalitis, and other mosquito-borne diseases. So I thought I’d make a list of the top myths and scams just in case skeptical people are Googling.

1. Mosquito-repelling plants

Despite the claims of thousands of posts on Facebook and Pinterest, there are no plants that, when planted around your yard, repel mosquitoes. And, just to be clear, the plant marketed as “mosquito plant” does not repel mosquitoes. I know this is deeply upsetting news to many plant fans. I’m just the messenger.

2. Ultrasonic devices and apps

None of these have been found to work (details). It’s too bad. It would be really cool if they did. The FTC has taken some companies to court. There is, however, a device called The Mosquito that is effective at repelling teenagers.

3. Bags of water suspended from ceiling

This belief is common in Mexico, Central America, Spain, and certain pockets in the U.S. south. It’s a variation of the equally-ineffective tradition of hanging bags of water to repel house flies. Some people insist that you have to add coins (and just the right number).

4. Listerine

Nope — even when mixed with other ingredients like beer and epsom salts, spraying Listerine around your yard won’t repel mosquitoes. Just another internet rumor started by somebody with too much free time.

5. Citronella candles

Citronella candles only seem to work if you surround yourself with a lot of them, ideally in a protected area so that wind doesn’t dissipate the smoke. Similarly, Tiki torches that burn citronella-laced oil are ineffective. They smell great, though. The pleasant smell most likely contributes to the strong placebo effect. People absolutely believe they work even though they do not.

6. Bounce dryer sheets

Per one study fungus gnats (which don’t bite) were mildly repelled by dryer sheets. I’d wager these sheets might actually be attractive to mosquitoes (some species home in on perfumes).

7. Wrist bands with natural oils

At best, wrist bands will reduce the number of mosquito bites on your wrist simply because they can’t bite through the plastic. But they will not emit enough volatile compounds to shield the rest of you. NB: currently there are no wristbands that contain DEET or other CDC-approved repellent. Details.

8. Stickers laced with natural oils

Stickers only prevent mosquitoes from biting the flesh directly underneath the sticker. You’d need an awful lot of stickers for full protection. If you can rock that look, I say go for it. Note, same conclusion for the stickers that claim to infuse your bloodstream with B1.

9. Garlic

Eating garlic does not deter mosquitoes. Just deters other people.

10. Vitamin B1, B6, or B12 pills or patches

Nope, nope, and nope. Details. More details.

11. Mozi-Q pills

Just another scam. Details.

12. Bug Zappers

These devices are adored by people because they make a satisfying crackle when an insect meets its end. Indeed, people who own these seem to delight in the attention these things get when friends come over in the evening. But if you dump all the carcasses on a table and sort them (good family fun), you’ll find that only a very small fraction of the victims will be mosquitoes. In one study, 0.22% were mosquitoes. Mostly you’ve just electrocuted thousands of small, defenseless moths and night-active beetles. That’s a lot of bad karma. More details.

13. Dynatraps

These don’t appear to work. I’ve tried two and can confirm. If you’re still on the fence read some of the many 1-star reviews on Amazon.

14. Tubes of yeast and sugar

Contraptions filled with yeast and sugar are really good at attracting and killing fruit flies, ants, and wasps. They will not control your mosquitoes.

15. Bats and birds

Sadly, it’s a myth that constructing a bat or bird hotel in your backyard will eliminate your mosquito problem. Bats and birds will certainly eat mosquitoes under some circumstances (e.g., when they are caged with nothing else) but under natural conditions they prefer to eat larger insects. You should still construct bird and bat houses, though. Details.

More information

If you have questions, email me.