Be Careful with Bug Bombs – Advice From the Pros

By Chris Williams on November 9, 2011.

Many people still think that the only way to kill bugs really dead is to use a “bug bomb,” also called a fogger. They turn their noses up at over-the-counter traps and baits and crack and crevice sprays. If you’re going to do it right, they think, you’ve got to “fog.” Unfortunately, these same people often don’t read or understand the label. They figure more is better. They don’t leave the premises during treatment. They don’t turn off pilot lights. They fail to air out the premises after fogging. There are frequently stories in the news media about the use of bug bombs gone wrong.

The real term for bug bombs is “total release foggers (TRFs).” These are pesticide products that are designed to fill an entire space with insecticide. These containers of pesticide are released in homes and workplaces to kill cockroaches, fleas, and flying insects. Each bomb contains enough aerosol pesticide to treat a certain number of square feet of dwelling. No special training or licensing is required to use a fogger. Because of the past misuse of foggers, the Environmental Protection Agency is requiring changes to make fogger labels easier to understand.

spray-canThere are frequent reports of explosions and fires caused by bug bombs that are improperly used in the presence of ignition sources such as gas pilot lights or even electrical appliances that cycle on and off:

A woman was setting off bug bombs in her home when the fog coming from one can suddenly ignited. The can then exploded. She was still in the room at the time and suffered respiratory symptoms. She had positioned the can near her gas hot water heater but had forgotten to turn off the gas first. The fire department responded and treated her with oxygen.

Beyond the risk of explosion and fire, misuse of bug bombs can also result in serious health problems. From the news:

A 54-year old man set off 9 bug bombs at the same time in his small 700 square foot (6,000 cubic feet) home. Each 1.5 ounce can was designed to treat 5,000 cubic feet. When the man returned 6 hours later, a strong odor prompted him to open doors and windows and vacate. He the re-entered 4 hours later and developed headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. He was treated at an emergency room for moderate to severe illness and recovered after 36 hours.

Bug bombers figure they are saving money by doing their own pest control. But they don’t consider the risks involved. Plus, many aren’t aware of the fact that bug bombs only kill the pests present at the time of use (and sometimes not even those). The killing effect is gone within a few hours. There is no lasting pesticide present to kill cockroaches or fleas that hatch from eggs after the treatment, or to kill pests that are introduced later. In contrast, a professional pest control company uses low risk products that will continue working long after they are applied. And instead of releasing large quantities of pesticide into the air, professionals apply the pesticide into hidden cracks and crevices where bugs hide. Don’t be a do-it-yourself fogger, call a professional pest control company!



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