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Bed Bug Plays: Which Consumer Stock to Pick?


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- From movie theaters to homes and schools, bed bugs -- those small, vampire-like creatures that come out at night and bite you when you're sleeping -- have invaded seemingly every human habitat across the country.

Generally only a few millimeters wide, these oval, reddish-brown and flightless insects have inspired so much fear, and countless stories of unbearable itching, that many consumers would do anything to protect themselves against the bugs. Much to the delight of consumer goods companies that have the products and services to meet this need, they're even willing to spend a little more money for new bed-bug fighting products or services.

For this reason, various analysts TheStreet spoke with expect greater revenue streams for a variety of large, publicly traded companies due to the bed bug outbreak.

Procter & Gamble (PG - Get Report) is one of these companies. During the recent recession, 70% of consumers surveyed by marketing research company Kelton Research said that they were making purchases differently, compared with just a few months ago -- the recession caused them to break their habits.

Indeed, the bed bug outbreak could be, like the recession, another consumer-behavior-changing event that brings opportunities to large consumer goods companies such as Procter & Gamble.

Another stock poised to benefit from the bed bug epidemic is Clorox (CLX - Get Report) -- which is, of course, famous for its cleaning products. Kelton Research said that with good communication, Clorox would be able to pick up new consumers who wouldn't have thought twice about them just weeks or months ago -- before they started getting really scared about the bed bug outbreak.

As a component of the $8.7 billion extermination, insect and pest control industry, Rollins (ROL) could certainly see additional revenue streams from the bed bug outbreak, IBISWorld pointed out. "The company has an extensive pest control business and is likely to be observing increased demand due to bed bug problems." A peer such as Ecolab (ECL) could similarly benefit from the bed-bug epidemic.

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