With the summer months upon us, many people are dealing with insect problems inside their home. Some people use total release foggers, aka “bug bombs,” to eliminate these pests. Bug bombs are pesticide sprays that discharge all of their contents at once. The contents are released upward, filling the air with pesticide. Spray droplets remain suspended in the air for a short time before gradually settling onto floors, countertops, and other surfaces in the home.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) advises that many people misuse this product. A 2008 study of pesticide illness reports in 8 states found 466 illnesses related to fogger use in a 5-year time frame. For example, some people set off multiple foggers, often in smaller homes. In one case, this negligent act resulted in the water heater’s pilot light igniting the flammable gas, resulting in a major explosion and the destruction of the home owner’s property.
The California DPR has reported that every year bug bombs explode and catch fire when people ignore simple precautions. There have also been numerous incidents of respiratory, eye, and skin irritation from overexposure to these fumes. The following are some California DPR safety tips for the summer.
-Avoid chemicals whenever possible. Effective use of window and door screens and maintaining a clean home are good precautions against pests. Proper caulking of your home can also help.
-To choose the best control strategy, you should correctly identify the pest. Always read labels before using the pesticide, and follow all instructions closely.
-Use no more pesticide than necessary. You should read and follow directions for the recommended number of fogger aerosol cans to use. Generally, you should use no more than one 6 or 8 ounce fogger for apartments or small residences.
-When using bug bombs, you should turn off ignition sources, such as gas pilot lights and electrical appliances. Appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners may produce a spark when they cycle on and off.
-Hire a professional exterminator for major bug infestations.