Bed bug bombs and foggers had been a craze in the midst of the growing infestations in the U.S. and other countries. The results are varying and it seems like the jury’s out in judging whether these pesticides are actually effective in eliminating the bugs. But this trend in eradicating the pest has to be discussed once and for all.
Bombs and foggers are only as good as their short-lived effects. Many times, it will just worsen the situation and drive away the bugs instead of killing it. The pest would crawl back once the chemicals wear off. Studies had already ruled out the effectiveness of these products in dealing with a bed bug infestation. A research on the University of Ohio found that bed bugs don’t budge on the presence of these chemicals and the pest remained unharmed after the treatment is done.
Another thing that’s alarming about these products are the health risks that it directly poses to the household occupants.
So are foggers and bombs just marketing myths? It’s safe to say that there might be a little pesticidal effect but not enough to kill the pest as much as other pesticides do. If you’re not yet convinced, here are some reasons why you should stop using these products.
1. Foggers don’t penetrate cracks and crevices
Foggers are basically canisters that create a mist of pesticides inside a room. As much as it can be in contact with the bugs harboring in an uncovered area, the chemicals won’t even reach the cracks and crevices. And that makes the situation even worse. Bed bugs are great hiders and they can even burrow themselves into the smallest crevice that even exterminators would have a difficult time reaching.
Bed bugs harboring on the seams of the bed can dig deeper and dodge the mist present in the air and outer layer of the bedding. Some bed bug bombs and foggers might have effects but it’s too low or non-abrasive that the bugs won’t die from the treatment. And the alarming fact is that the chemicals have been overused that the bugs are already building resistance on it.
2. Bed bugs can easily develop resistance to it
So how do the bugs develop this resistance? Before we discuss it, it’s important to know that resistance and immunity are two different things. Resistance is the ability to not be affected by an adverse condition while immunity is the body’s ability to fight off irritants using biologically formed antibodies.
Due to continuous use of foggers, a population of the bed bugs would develop resistance over time. The fogger could kill a large number of bugs but the resistant few would soon give birth to resistant nymphs that will cause the resurgence of the infestation. This time, it’s harder to cure and the foggers would only become an irritating mist than a lethal one. The continuous but low exposure to the pesticide would allow the bugs to adjust physically and survive.
3. Foggers have very low pesticide content
Like what I said, foggers give the bugs a low exposure to pesticides. This is because it contains low levels of pyrethrin and pyrethroids that, as some studies suggest, are already prone to bug-resistance. The same study from the University of Ohio confirmed that these products have a very low concentration of pesticides on which the residual effect is very short as well.
Residual effect refers to the period of efficacy after the initial application on which the chemical has dried up.
This means that the mists the bed bug bombs and foggers produce are only a mild kick on the systems of the pest that they can easily recover from. Surprisingly, the EPA had reported that about 50 million foggers are being used yearly in the United States. A staggering number of ineffective pest control.
4. It pushes the bugs to spread the infestation on a wider scale
Although foggers and bed bug bombs aren’t really lethal, it can still irritate the bed bugs. This will drive them into deeper crevices and more hidden spots where the mist or powder can’t reach. Such case would cause a wider infestation as the bugs would scatter around the property while continuously reproducing possibly resistant bugs.
Most of the time, bed bugs stay within the sleeping area of the host. But once a fogger is administered, the pest would crawl in different directions. This would give ephemeral relief but the bites and fabric damage would soon resume when the chemicals wear off.
The last thing you’ll know is the infestation has gone bigger and you have to pay a bigger price, literally.
5. Bed bug bombs and foggers are dangerous to humans
Aside from the defeating results of its pesticidal ability, bed bug bombs and foggers also pose serious health threats to humans exposed to it. Health officials had been vocal about how foggers make people sick and if the exposure to the substance becomes regular, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems might take place.
Re-entry on the treated area is the common cause of this. The only consolation here is that only a small part of the people acquiring illnesses are kids, but that doesn’t mean adults are not susceptible to developing life-threatening diseases. Those with asthma would be the most vulnerable when exposed to the mist the foggers are releasing.
With this, the EPA had ordered the revision of the labels of this product to state clearly the health risk that it entails. But more often, these precautions are left unread and ignored during household use.
6. It hinders the efficacy of professional treatments
Foggers and bombers contain pyrethroids and pyrethrins that are also components of professional pest control chemicals. This would result in redundant treatment especially if the prior home remedies aren’t declared to the exterminators. Since the bugs might have developed resistance over some pesticides, the professional treatments would have slow to no effect.
The bugs would also look for a friendlier environment that will, in turn, make professional treatment almost useless because a population of the pest had vacated the area already. The exterminators would use kill-upon-contact pesticides, and since the bugs are hiding, the approach is bound to fail.
If you’re intending to get rid of bugs, might as well use effective sprays and dust. Calling for professional help would also be a resource-saving move than bed bug bombs and foggers.
7. Foggers are more popular than it is effective
No doubt that bed bug foggers and bombs are popular and the common resort of households plagued with an infestation. But as much as some brands are already household names, it’s less effective than what it claims.
I’d already revealed that foggers have very low pesticide content. It also drives the bugs deeper on cracks on crevices that make it harder to treat. Instead of mitigating the infestation, these products tend to worsen it. This is to the point that even the health of the property’s occupants is jeopardized.
Sadly, millions of households are falling victim to the harsh effects of foggers. If this won’t stop, the products might soon become the DDT of our generation.
Before anyone violently reacts, it’s better to clear out that bed bug bombs and foggers are somewhat true to its promise. It can kill bugs, but not all of it. A large number could hide, develop resistance, and make further treatments difficult to administer. Beyond the short-term efficacy, you might have to look at the bigger picture of widespread infestation.