When to Use a Cockroach Bomb

Cockroach bombs may help treat a roach infestation, but there are risks involved. Learn how roach bombs work and what you need to be aware of.



Cockroaches can find their way into a home or building in a variety of ways, but once inside, they multiply. Signs of a roach infestation include seeing roaches, which are nocturnal, in the daytime, seeing droppings or empty egg casings or smelling a strong, oily scent. There are several methods that can be used to treat a roach problem, one of which is the roach bomb.

How roach bombs work

Roach bombs, also called bug bombs or foggers, work by spraying a pesticide into the air in a confined space. It falls to the ground, coating surfaces and killing pests. The following excerpt, written by extension entomologist Michael F. Potter at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, explains how they work - or don't work, as the case may be.

"Most foggers are designed to be placed in the center of a room on a chair or table, and activated by depressing or removing a tab at the top of the can. The entire contents are released upwards, into the airspace, where the aerosol droplets remain suspended for a period of time and then gradually settle onto floors, countertops and other surfaces... When applied in this manner, very little insecticide actually penetrates into cracks, voids, and other hidden locations where cockroaches, ants, silverfish, and most other household pests congregate and spend most of their time."

Possible problems with bug bombs

Because the pesticides don't reach into many of the nooks and crannies that roaches love, bug bombs are really only effective against flying insects. The Washington State Department of Health recommends avoiding them altogether for most types of indoor pests. Cockroach bombs are also highly flammable because of the aerosol. Moreover, the pesticides used can be toxic and, after use, coat the surfaces in your home.

"Even though a bug bomb product says it controls certain insect pests - it may not be the best option. Bug bombs essentially throw the insecticide into the air, treating the exposed surface where it lands. If the insect pest is hiding under furniture or in cracks and crevices, it can avoid contact with the pesticide fog. … Bug bombs can be avoided for fleas, cockroaches and other insect pests when effective control alternatives are chosen."

The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides, including those used in roach bombs, has a list of safety precautions that should be taken if using a bug bomb in your home. Among them are leaving the premises during the fogging and airing it out thoroughly afterward.

"Breathing spray mist may be harmful. Safe use of these products requires that everyone, including pets, leave the treated space and close the doors after foggers have been released. Stay out until the time indicated on the label has passed, usually two to four hours. Prematurely entering the treated premises may lead to illness."

Do store-bought foggers work?

Store-bought foggers are often more trouble than they are worth. Roach bombs only remove the bugs you can see, not their source. Using over-the-counter products such as these are a spot-treatment for an infestation, but not a solution.

To find and treat the source of an infestation, it is best to turn to a pest management specialist.

Terminix® pest management professionals know how to identify both the type of cockroach in your home and where they most likely have nests. If you have a cockroach problem, get started with us today.


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