Ag Notes: Tips for wise use of indoor pest controls

September 29, 2004|JERRY LITTLE

It is wise to be cautious in any attempt at indoor pest control especially when using aerosol bug bombs (total-release foggers) to control insect infestations in your home and other buildings.

Aerosol propellants used in foggers typically are flammable. You could cause a fire or explosion by using an excessive number of foggers and placing these so large amounts of propellant have contact with an ignition source. Combustible sources can include a flame, pilot light, or a spark from an electrical appliance that cycles on and off such as a refrigerator or air conditioner.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that an active fogger placed at least six feet or further from all ignition sources.

To reduce the likelihood of an accident, do not use any more foggers than is necessary. One six ounce or eight ounce fogger generally is sufficient for an average size home; smaller sized foggers are available for apartments and other small units.


Do not use foggers in small, enclosed places, such as closets, cabinets, or under counters or tables. Using no more than one ounce of product per 1,000 cubic feet of living area will significantly reduce the chance of fire yet still be effective.

To calculate the volume of a living area, multiply the height, width and length of each room, and add the room volumes together. For example, an eight-foot by 10-foot by 10 foot room has a volume of 800 cubic feet.

Foggers have limited effectiveness because the insecticide only kills exposed pests that are directly hit with insecticidal particles. These particles are not distributed into protected areas such as under furniture, in wall spaces, and beneath insulation in the attic.

Some people mistakenly believe that fogger fumigation will kill most if not all pests in the home or building. However, this device should be part of a comprehensive plan to help control pests.

For more information, contact the Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service.

Jerry Little is county extension agent for agriculture/natural resources.

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