Saturday, February 14, 2009

Do flea "bombs" or foggers really work?

What are flea "bombs"?
Flea bombs or foggers are pressurized cans of insecticide that totally release their contents once the trigger is pressed. In use, flea bombs are placed upright in the center of a room. When the trigger is pressed the entire contents of the can are sprayed upward as a fine aerosol spray or mist.

Flea foggers usually contain an insecticide to control adult, biting fleas plus an insect growth regulator such as methoprene, or the tradename Precor, that prevents larval fleas from developing into adults - thus "breaking the flea life cycle".

Do flea foggers really work?
Unfortunately foggers, and other total release insecticides, are not a particularly good way to apply insecticides. This is because the foggers produce spray droplets that are too large to stay suspended in air long enough to disperse to "every nook and cranny" of the room as advertised. Essentially any surface that is shielded by furniture, is not treated. Plus, surfaces that don't need to be treated, like table tops, get covered with insecticide unless they are protected

What's better?
I prefer pump sprayers for applying insecticides because you can carefully place materials exactly where they are needed, even under and behind furniture. Non-aerosol insecticides are usually cheaper than aerosols, or foggers, plus, with aerosols you are left with disposal of the spray can when you are done. Hand pump sprayers are my first choice because they combine the advantages of a sprayer and are less expensive, easier to use, and produce a large enough droplet that it stays where you put it.

Some flea control products are packaged in their own hand pump spray bottle. These are both easy to use and very economical compared to aerosols. Take a look at this article about methoprene for an example of a hand pump sprayer for treating furniture and bed bedding with flea control insecticide.

There are also small (1 quart) hand pump garden sprayers that work well indoors for everything from flea control to insecticidal soap for house plants. These sprayers are also far more economical than any of the aerosol applicators. See our 'Bugs article about the new botanical insecticides for a wide selection of materials that can be used with hand pump sprayers.

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