Why You Should (Almost Never) Bomb Your Home For Bugs And Why We Wish You Wouldn't
Recently we received a call from a new client. He had never had problems with bugs in his home before, but that all changed when his neighbors moved out and the house next door was bombed for bugs. All of a sudden roaches were everywhere he said. I explained the process to treat for cockroaches and he understood, but before I hung up he asked: "Will this include spraying the yard also?" I explained yard sprays were usually not necessary with cockroaches and it is not generally included in the cost. "But they are all over my yard" he replied. I agreed to have our technician take a look at it and evaluate it from there. Sure enough, when our technician got there, there were thousands of cockroaches fleeing the neighboring house and crawling through the neighbors yard. He has done pest control for years and never seen anything like it. We spoke to the people next door, and they had thought they were helping pest control out, getting a head start on controlling the infestation in their home. And they are not alone. Time after time we encounter bed bug jobs or cockroach jobs where the client wanted to get a head start on treatment and went ahead and bombed before we got there. The thing is, it's not just for your neighbor's sake you don't want to bomb, it also makes a simple job a lot harder to treat.
1) Bug Bomb's or Foggers are designed to release an aerosol pesticide in the general vicinity of where it is placed. Foggers will kill insects out in the open, but what a lot of people don't realize is that they have a tendency to drive bugs that are in the open into the cracks and crevices of the home. This is where many bugs like cockroaches and bedbugs prefer to be anyhow. So the chemical will not affect the bugs in hiding as it is. Studies have shown a simple piece of cloth covering the bugs will protect them from foggers. With bedbugs, cockroaches, and most bugs in general, it is much easier to treat if they haven't been driven into the crevices of your floors and walls. As pest control professionals, if you don't bomb your bugs, it allows us to get in there and do a better job the first time around.
2) The active pesticide contained in bug bombs, probably isn't going to help much, depending on the bugs you are using them on. Cockroaches, bed bugs in particular are hearty bugs. Over time they have developed a resistance to many chemicals on the market. They are a tough bug to kill as it is, and where they are resistant to the chemical, all a fogger accomplishes is just sending the bugs deeper into the crevices of your home and sharing them with your neighborhood. When we are finally called onto the scene as bugs reappear, it makes the job a lot more difficult than it had to be, and is a really great way to tick off your neighborhood.
3) Foggers contain little to no residual in their pesticide. You have one shot to annihilate a colony. (Unless of course you set off multiple bug bombs, which is just as futile, a little dangerous and pretty expensive) As professionals, the pesticides we use have a residual effect. We expect it to not only stay where it is placed for a period of time to reach as many bugs as possible, but also it should stick to the bug. This is important because with many bugs we are not only treating the bugs you see running around, but we are also hoping to treat those who may come out of the cracks and crevices at night, as well as it's friend's and neighbors. We also take into account a bug's egg cycles. We will treat with a residual over a timed cycle usually a minimum of 3 treatments to fully eradicate your bugs. If the egg cycles are not addressed, you will just see them come back over time. A waste of your time and money. Foggers can not compete with professional treatments even if you use a timed cycle, because they contain little residual effect and like we mentioned above the active pesticide just isn't as effective in this day and age as it once was due to resistance.
4) They are dangerous. While cockroaches have been becoming resistant to the pesticides used in these bug bombs, they are still super toxic to humans and great care should be taken to not be in the home while it is being set off. They should never be set off in small enclosed areas with no ventilation. Foggers are also very flammable, and should never be set off near a flame. They have been known to cause some pretty serious explosions. Like this one.
So are bug bomb's always a bad idea? Not necessarily, they can be effective for flying insects if what you need is a one time blast to deal with a sudden house fly or fruit fly problem that is just more than your fly swatter can handle any more. As it is an aerosol it can be an effective option to consider, when used cautiously for winged insects on a temporary basis. For other insects, the best advice we can give, is if you are planning to call a professional (and we recommend you do) the best thing you can do is to leave the bugs alone until we get there. Many times there are steps you can take as we work with you to get rid of your infestation, such as drying your bedding and laundry to help kill the bedbugs, and making sure cockroaches don't have a ready supply of food and water on hand to encourage them. These are very helpful steps in exterminating your pests. Just whatever you do, don't set off a bug bomb!