How To Activate Bed Bug Fogger
Should I Use a Fogger?
While we can’t tell you whether or not to use a fogger, we can explain some things about foggers and how to use them safely to help you decide.
We register all pesticides to ensure they are safe to use, presuming you follow the label directions. This includes foggers (the full name is "total release foggers," to distinguish them from pesticide application equipment that is designed to emit a fog-like pesticide spray, but is under the control of the user).
When and How to Use a Fogger
To use a total release fogger, you place the canister in an appropriate location, activate it, and leave the room (perhaps even leave the building if directed by the label).
Total release foggers are approved for use against a variety of indoor pests, including bed bugs. Not all foggers are labeled for use against bed bugs, so you need to read the label before purchasing a fogger to ensure you are getting one that lists bed bugs on the label.
Effectiveness of Foggers
Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of total release foggers against bed bugs. Bed bugs often hide, especially during the day. Foggers should not be used as the sole source of bed bug control. The pesticides used in total release foggers must contact the pest to kill it. If the material does not reach the cracks and crevices where bed bugs are hiding, they will not be killed.
Fogger Safety Tips and Videos
If you are considering using a fogger:
- Read the label before purchasing it to be sure to buy a product registered for use against bed bugs.
- Read the label before using the product, to ensure you use it correctly.
- Only use the number of foggers required for your space. More is not better and too much could cause an explosion.
- Turn off pilot lights and unplug appliances to reduce the potential for an explosion.
- Leave the room or the building as directed by the label and don’t return until the amount of time listed on the label has passed.
How to Use a Bug Bomb Safely
Follow these precautions to keep your family and property safe
Bert Klassen / Getty Images
- B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University
Bug bombs, or total release foggers, fill a confined space with pesticides using an aerosol propellant. People tend to think of these products as quick and easy fixes for home insect infestations. In truth, few pests can be wiped out using bug bombs. The devices aren’t particularly useful for controlling infestations of cockroaches, ants, or bed bugs, and for this reason, it’s important to know when it’s appropriate to use them.
Used incorrectly, bug bombs can be downright dangerous. Each year, people ignite fires and explosions by misusing insect foggers. Bug bomb products can also cause respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments, which in the young or elderly can be fatal. If you are planning to use a bug bomb in your home, make sure to do so safely and correctly.
Why Bug Bombs Alone Are Not Effective
Bug bombs—sometimes called roach bombs—can be a useful part of an integrated pest management program. Alone, however, they are not especially effective. The reason is simple: The pesticide in a bug bomb (which is not always particularly effective against roaches, fleas, bedbugs, or silverfish) kills only those bugs with which it comes in direct contact. Most household pests are well known for their ability to hide under baseboards, inside cupboards and mattresses, in drains, and along baseboards.
Set off a fogger and you’ll kill off only those bugs that happen to be out in the open at any given moment. Any pests that are inside or under a protective covering will survive to bite another day. Meanwhile, your counters and other surfaces will have been coated with pesticide, meaning you’ll have to scrub them down before cooking or sleeping on them.
If you are serious about eradicating an infestation, you’ll need to do much more than simply set off a bug bomb. Because it does take work and know-how to safely and effectively rid yourself of pests, you may want to hire a pest control company. Experts may use bug bombs as part of their arsenal, but they will also:
- Set bait traps
- Spray directly into areas that are protected and likely to harbor pests
- Use chemicals that are specifically intended to eradicate particular pests; pyrethrin, the main pesticide in foggers, is most effective against flying insects—but not cockroaches or fleas.
- Return to reapply pesticides as needed
How to Use Bug Bombs Safely
Bug bombs are somewhat risky as they contain flammable materials including potentially harmful pesticides. To use them safely, follow all of these instructions.
Read and Follow All Directions and Precautions
When it comes to pesticides, the label is the law. Just as the pesticide manufacturers are required to include certain information on their product labels, you are required to read it and follow all directions correctly. Understand the risks of the pesticides you are using by reading carefully all label sections beginning withdanger, poison, warning,orcaution. Follow instructions for use, and calculate how much pesticide you need based on the package directions.
Most foggers are intended to treat a specific number of square feet; using a large bug bomb in a small space can increase health risks. In addition, most foggers have information about how long to wait before returning to the sprayed area (typically two to four hours).
Use Only the Number of Bug Bombs Specified
Contrary to popular belief, more is not always better. Manufacturers test their bug bomb products to determine the safest and most effective number to use per square foot of living space. If you use more than the specified number of bug bombs, you only increase the health and safety risks that come with using them. You won’t kill any more bugs.
Cover All Food and Children’s Toys Prior to Using the Bug Bomb
Once the bug bomb is activated, the contents of your home will be covered with a chemical residue. Do not eat any food items that were not covered. Young children tend to put toys in their mouths, so it’s best to seal toys inside garbage bags or put them in toy boxes or drawers where they won’t be exposed to pesticides. You may also want to cover sofas, chairs, and other upholstered furniture that can’t be wiped down.
Tell Your Neighbors About Your Bug Bomb Plans
Condos and apartment buildings usually share common ventilation systems or have cracks and crevices between units. If you live in close quarters, make sure to let your neighbors know when you are using any airborne pesticide product, and ask them to turn off any ignition sources (stove and dryer pilots, for example) in their units. Your neighbors may prefer to cover their adjacent duct work, too.
Unplug Anything That Can Spark
The aerosol propellants used in bug bomb products are highly flammable. A gas flame or ill-timed spark from an appliance can easily ignite the propellant. Always turn off all pilot lights, and take the extra precaution of unplugging refrigerators and air conditioners. To be extra safe, place the bug bombs a minimum of six feet from any potential source of a spark.
Once You Activate the Bug Bomb, Vacate the Premises Immediately
Silly (and obvious) as this may sound, a good number of reported incidents have occurred because individuals were unable to vacate prior to discharge of a bug bomb. In fact, a CDC study on bug bomb safety showed a full 42% of reported health issues occurred because users failed to leave the area after activating the fogger, or returned too early. Before you activate the product, plan your escape.
Keep All People and Pets out of the Area for as Long as the Label Indicates
For most bug bomb products, you need to vacate the premises for several hours after activating the product. Do not, under any circumstances, return to the property early. You risk serious health issues, including respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments, if you occupy the home prematurely. Don’t reenter your home until it is safe to do so according to the product label.
Ventilate the Area Well Before Reentering
Again, follow the label directions. After the prescribed amount of time to allow the product to work has passed, open as many windows as you can. Leave them open for a minimum of one hour before you allow anyone to reenter the home.
Once You Return, Keep Pesticides out of Pets’ and People’s Mouths
After returning to your home, wipe down any surfaces where food is prepared, or that pets or people may touch with their mouths. Clean all counters and other surfaces where you prepare food thoroughly. If you left pet dishes out and uncovered, wash them. If you have infants or toddlers who spend lots of time on the floor, be sure to mop. If you left your toothbrushes out, replace them with new ones.
Store Unused Bug Bomb Products Safely
Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of airborne chemicals, and you shouldn’t risk an accidental discharge of pesticides by a curious child. Like all hazardous chemicals, bug bombs should be stored in a childproof cabinet or other secure location.
If You Are Exposed to a Bug Bomb
While most people understand that they should leave the house after setting off a bug bomb, there are quite a few reasons why someone might be exposed to pesticide-containing fog. According to the CDC, the most common reasons are related to:
- Failure to vacate the premises during the application
- Returning too soon after setting off a bug bomb, to turn off alarms or retrieve pets or forgotten items
- Inadequate ventilation or cleanup of residuals after the bug bomb
- People accidentally sprayed in the face or at close range
- Bug bombs being set off without warning in apartment buildings with shared ventilation systems
If you’re exposed to pesticide from a bug bomb, you may experience nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, leg cramps, burning eyes, coughing, or wheezing. These symptoms may be mild or severe; they are, of course, most dangerous among very young children and people who are allergic to the pesticide. If you do experience symptoms, visit the emergency room to avoid complications.
The 6 Best Bed Bug Fogger of 2019
Bed bugs are insects whose main diet is human blood. They are known human parasites that usually come out at night, thus the name. Their bites can have lots of adverse effects like allergic symptoms, psychological effects, disturbed sleep, and skin rashes. The bites can even form prominent blisters that, in some cases, may even cause pain. Itchiness is also a common symptom of the bite, while some people may get a fever or feel fatigued.
They have two main primary species called the Cimexhemipterus and the more common Cimexlectularius. They are really small insects of about 1 to 7 mm in length. They spread throughout the home by crawling between nearby places or being carried along with personal items. Bed bugs are common in high-density areas where they are able to spread more quickly. They spend most of their lives hidden in locations like the cracks of the wall or the seams of the mattress.
Eliminating bed bugs can be quite difficult since they can survive up to a year without any need for feeding. There are various treatments that people all over the globe employ to get rid of bedbugs. However, in order to truly get rid of them, it is important to choose a highly effective method like the best bed bug bomb or fogger so that you can stop a bedbug infestation right in its tracks!
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