PestXit – A Follow-up

by Ken Greatorex

Peter Bromley’s experiences with his mum’s PestXit Duo (11th September) interested me strangely. This device does not rely on nasty chemicals, paranormal energy or the doubtful therapeutic effect of magnetic fields. You plug it in and turn it on, and it makes a continuous irritating noise beyond the human frequency threshold. That’s plausible. Why shouldn’t it work?

Imagine yourself momentarily as a mouse or a cockroach in this situation. Wouldn’t you migrate to (say) the quieter wall spaces of the house next door? It’s an extraordinarily humane method of pest control. You flick-pass your pests to people who have not had the foresight to invest in a PestXit! The website features a photo of a little mouse getting on a bike to reinforce this point.  

Note: We previously implied that PestXit Duo was a mousetrap. It’s not: mea culpa – that’s the heading I gave to Peter’s article. The company do actually market a mousetrap which costs A$9.95 online (three for $28), looks like this and kills, rather than banishes mice. Most PestXit products are electronic in operation, and apart from PestXit Duo and the slightly cheaper PestXit Ultra there is a wide range of similar devices which includes MossiXit.

 

PestXit says its devices originate in Canada, but manufacturing and marketing are now based in China. The content of its website suggests that Australasia and the Pacific Islands are a major outlet. Sales are on-line or through chains such as Dick Smith or Tandy.

PestXit’s online advertising stresses the safety of the product, with claims of effectiveness relying on testimonials. Ease of use is also implied. You are left with the impression that you only have to plug it in and switch it on to be protected from both mice and insects in perpetuity. As we’ll see, that’s a little misleading.

The testimonial heading every page of PestXit’s website comes from a Fijian. His/her PestXit has eliminated a rat problem. Not only has their expensive onslaught on electrical wiring ceased, but the cockroaches have joined the exodus.

There are three more “testimonials”, all from Australians. The first is not a testimonial at all, and concerns safety rather than effectiveness. The writer says that he has been commissioned to provide an opinion, and lists impressive qualifications in Environmental Medicine. He continues: In my opinion, the MozziXit products pose no discernable risk to human health when used according to instructions. The second testimonial blames cockroaches for eating through electrical wiring. PestXit Duo has solved the problem. The third says that mice, spiders and cockroaches are conspicuously absent since she plugged in a PestXit Ultra. This is especially good news, as she has a crawling baby.

The problem with testimonials is that the company has its choice of customer feedback to publish. The greater the sales, the greater the opportunity to select from the extreme positive end of the customer response bell-curve.

I went looking for more independent assessments. I found one on a New Zealand site. The customer reports that ants are kept away until something sweet and sticky is spilled, in which case they come back: (Score: 7 out of 10).

I found ten customer reviews at productreview.com.au. They give PestXit a range of scores from zero to five out of five. Three users rate it highly. One used it to repel possums: which is interesting, and also problematic for PestXit’s environmental credentials, given that the only mammals supposedly affected by the product are rodents. Three customers are more equivocal: one says it works for cockroaches but costs too much. Another says that it deterred mice for one year, after which they returned. The third says that it seems to deter mice, but not other pests. Of the four negative reviews, one says that mice had chewed through PestXit’s plastic case, but goes on to concede that there are no Wildebeeste menacing the premises. The second returned the product for a refund with cockroaches nesting inside it. The third, after claiming no deterrent effect on either rodents or insects, points out that the device can only be set manually for either mice or insects at any one time. The fourth disgruntled reviewer asked PestXit for research data supporting the company’s claims, to be told that such data was confidential. (average score: 2.8 out of 5).

That leads to the question; is there any professional research regarding the product’s efficiency? The following appears on the company’s own website:

What testing have the PestXit products undergone?

PestXit products have been independently tested by Intertek Testing Services in Hong Kong and has received EMC certification. PestXit products have also undergone laboratory testing in Australia by an independent testing unit – Austest Laboratories – and the Queensland Department of Energy and Mines.

I first contacted Austest. A spokesman told me that PestXit may have been a client in the past, in which case results of testing would be confidential: however, such testing could only apply to product safety or verification of compliance to technical standards. He assured me Austest could not have tested to see if it controls pests, because its laboratories are not equipped to do so.

I then phoned the Queensland Department of Energy and Mines, but got a remarkably swift and useful response from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation instead; the Queensland Government’s electronic labs which might have tested PestXit perhaps seven years ago are now in its domain. PestXit would have to have met routine safety and environmental standards in order to be legally sold in Queensland stores. Again, the question of whether it actually controls pests would not have arisen.

The involvement of Intertek is a little less clear-cut. Intertek is an international organisation which conducts a wide range of technical assessments. However, MEC certification suggests that once again, the focus is on safety, electronic performance, possibly environmental compliance; but not effectiveness as a pest controller.

In summary: PestXit Duo may deter some people’s pests for some period of time under certain conditions. It does not seem to have the universal effectiveness claimed by the manufacturer. At about A$90 per unit, it should.

The emphasis on safety seems to be well supported. However, if the company is in possession of independent research to show that PestXit Duo actually works, it has missed a golden opportunity to refer to that research in its advertising. Testimonials are not an adequate substitute for data.

8 Responses to PestXit – A Follow-up

  1. peter davson-galle says:

    thanks, i’ll spend my 90 bucks on coopers red label instead (absolutely guaranteed to cure “monkeys on the knees” and tastes splendid too)

    cheers! peter

  2. keng2 says:

    Hi Peter,

    Now that’s a product I can personally endorse!
    You forgot to mention that since Coopers went on Sale in Norwood in 1862, Adelaide’s annual Drop Bear Plague has failed to re-occur.

  3. Megan says:

    We’ve been using the pest xit for a month now, the cockroaches are still here and worse. I bought some bates yesterday and they are dying. Waste of money and the guinnea pig can come back inside.

  4. Tony Newman says:

    I bought one back in 2005. I had it switched to HIGH and had just left it going in a corner and virtually forgot about it. Last year we had rats infest our ceiling space. We had a pest control control company come and lay baits on 2 or 3 occasions. That seemed to work in the short term, but the rats returned. I then remembered the PestXit Duo and switched it to LOW. Almost instantly the rats left and haven’t returned. The pity is that they don’t seem to be available any more?

  5. Rando54 says:

    I’ve had my Pest Xit Duo for over 10yrs now and I’d never be without it. All you skeptics can respond to me if you’d like to sell your Pest Xit Duo. They’re unavailable now, just like any great product it only takes a few negative comments to have them banned from sale in this do-gooder, nanny-state country. Contact me via this site if you wish to sell your Pest Xit Duo. Thanks.

    • keng2 says:

      Thanks for your comment Rando54
      Some quick responses:
      1. It’s still only a testimonial. I’ll balance it with my testimonial. In the last 10 years I have not had rodents, cockroaches or a PestXit at my house, to the best of my knowledge.
      2. Was PestXit ever banned in Australia? I doubt it. If I’m in error, please give me the details, including the reasons why. Australian federal and state governments unfortunately are not in the habit of banning ineffective devices that are overhyped; only products which are dangerous. Even in the notorious case of the Power Balance Wrist Band all that was required by the regulators was that they stopped making claims that they couldn’t support with evidence.
      3. Unfortunately it’s still largely “buyer beware” to a large extent. Are you seriously suggesting that consumers be discouraged from going public with their negative experiences in using commercially available products?
      4. I agree that PestXit sales seem to have dwindled and that the product is hard to get. That’s the market at work. The good news is that if you’re seriously interested, since our article was posted there has been a relaunch in Australia of an almost identical product with a slightly different name, once again relying entirely on testimonials for its advertising evidence.

    • dan says:

      I had a rodent problem,used all the poison that were available in Australia and all my problems continued to be a nightmare.Until I discovered pestxit 18 years ago and all my problems were solved.Their droppings were outside & inside my shed, but never inside my house.I worked for a mining company where the rodents use to chew thru electrical wires it cost the company half a day in production losses twice in one year.Told them about Pestxit and their problem were solved (there were scepticism of course but after taking note of the results a lot of my work colleagues ended up buying one for their homes)

  6. Tika says:

    I’m looking to buy pest xit but not sure where.
    The one I was using had stop working. I use to have (pest) in the wall and every night was like an army walking between the wall but the day I plug pest xit in, it was peacefull silence.
    You have to play with it bit to get the right setting.

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