Bed Bug Bombs-Do Foggers work? Effectiveness — Reviews, Pestbugs

Bed Bug Bombs-Do Foggers work? Effectiveness & Reviews

When opting for pesticides or insecticides that kill bed bugs, there are a variety of formulations that you can access.

Apart from the common spray and powder form, there is another way to go about it; the foggers or as commonly called, ‘bug bombs’.

Bug bombs target a number of bugs that wreck your comfort in your home. They are used to kill fleas, cockroaches and bed bugs among other insects. Find out how they work, how effective they’re in addition to reviews on the best in the market.

What are Bed Bombs

The fogger acts like a gas bomb releasing gas when set. These foggers are products that have an aerosol propellant that acts as a carrier of the principle compound, the insecticide.


It is important to note that propellant chemicals used in the formulation have potential of being flammable and hence when not used in the correct manner, may be very catastrophic.

There are reviews that point out to its not being effective but those who have used it successfully insist on using it correctly and repeatedly. That it can accomplish great results.

Methods that are used to kill bed bugs are themselves not a guarantee of total eradication and neither should you hesitate from trying each method to find the best or decide on a cocktail of methods to use. There is a good chance that bed bug bombs could help you get rid of your nightmare.

Therefore, this article expounds on how to use it and the level of efficacy based on reviews and studies conducted.

How do they work?

BBed bug foggers have been designed to aerosolize the chemical principle into the air that eventually settles on items in the household.

The miniature particles have the capacity to enter spaces and settle killing bed bugs in those areas. Many insect foggers have the insecticide known as pyrethrin which is effective in the elimination of insects.

It is best in fighting flying insects such as houseflies and less effective on crawling insects. However, there is still some efficacy in the former and that’s important.

Foggers are normally placed at the center of the room of concern and may be multiple in the whole house.

The location should be strategic to allow the contents to access virtually all areas of the room without any bias or loss.

When you are ready, the bed bug bomb is activated by simply pressing a tab or button you’ll see at the top of the can.

This product is not so different from using any other aerosol cans just that in this case, the aerosol continuously releases the content once pressed.

You are required to leave the house at this instance for a period of about 2-4 hours.

What happens is the contents that are in the can are now expelled and release upwards and you might be able to see the aerosol droplets suspended in the air space.

Once much of the droplets have been expelled, the suspension settles horizontally onto floors and surfaces of your household items.

The reason this method is very effective for flying insects is that it gets suspended for a long time in the airspace before settling. This is good when targeting insects that are winged.

It is also limited to areas that are open and rarely interact with spaces in cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. However, the exposed bed bug will surely face the music.

It has also been mentioned that the contents in bed bug bombs are potent repellents that promote deeper movement of insects into walls and other areas making it even harder to reach them next time.

Before using a bed bug bomb, you should consider a number of precautions so that the process is safe.

  1. Choose a bomb that suits the space that you are considering to treat.
  2. Make sure that you have read the label for instructions before using it. A rule of thumb; use 6 ounces of fogger in each room. Some labels provide information regarding how to calculate how much of a dose is required for a given space in length, width and height.
  3. Do not use a bed bug bomb in the closet as this space is too small and the pressure might be too much that it may explode.
  4. Avoid spaces with electrical appliances or igniters such as stove.
  5. Make sure that you cover food, water and any other kitchen appliances that may pose a risk of contamination of food or water. Ensure that pets are not in the house at that time.
  6. In order to prevent spreading of the fogger chemical into spaces in the air conditioners and fans, it is important that you switch them off.
  7. Wear something protective such as gloves and a mask when you are doing the activation. Then leave the space.

Do bombs kill bed bugs? How effective are they?

Foggers or bed bug bombs are considered ineffective in the control of bed bugs. This is basically due to the inability of the droplets of chemicals from bed bug bombs to reach and access areas in which bed bugs are known to hide.

This includes cracks, crevices, underneath carpets, along tiles, in door and window hinged, corners of beds and mattresses, in blankets, clothing, behind wallpapers, picture frames, inside wall sockets, behind switch plates, etcetera.

Bed bug

Since the droplets settle after a long time and if they do, on surfaces of items that are in open space, bed bugs win at the end of the day.

These fumigators mainly kill insects that fly or those that are exposed in which bed bugs may be part. Elimination is entirely not possible with fumigators or bed bug bombs.

Another aspect that comes into play is the finding that pyrethrin and pyrethroids are not as effective in the killing of bed bugs as they do with cockroaches and other insects.

As noted by most field-collected bed bugs, there is an existent resistance to the chemical and hence not enough to kill bed bugs.

Again, it wouldn’t rub you too well when you allow pesticides to interact with your food, tables, bedding and children’s toys. Unfortunately, you will not be able to secure everything from the pesticide while at the same time in need of efficacy. This is what bed bug bombs do.

You may not also have read the instructions that you should cover and clean your household items before use which may be detrimental to the general health of your family.

See also:  Cockroach Bites: Signs and Remedies, Panther Pest Control

It is also important to note that if you have asthma or any other respiratory illness, you could react to the pyrethrin (Entomology at the University of Kentucky).

Bed Bug bomb reviews

Hot shot bed bug bombs

A product of Spectrum Brand Holdings Inc., Hot Shot bed bug bomb is both a bed bug and flea fogger.

It has chemicals that are toxic to bed bugs, fleas, lice and ticks among other insects.

This product is one of the foggers that have been voted ineffective in the treatment of bed bug infestations.

However, reviews state that the bomb should be used with a spray to be able to reach areas where the droplets are not able to reach. It is said to work and the two combined have shown good efficacy.

Reviews have also shared on the impressive information they have availed at the disposal of the customer defining how the entire process works proving that they really care about their customers.

Among the contents that Hot Shot bed bug bomb contains is an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) known as Pyriproxyfen which has shown a broad-spectrum effectiveness against a variety of arthropods.

In this product, it is referred to as IGR Nylar and is the active ingredient. Fortunately, the chemical is able to remain stable both out and indoors inhibiting the growth of bed bugs among other roaches and fleas.

Indoors, it can reside for about 3-6 months while taking 30 days outdoors.

However, according to Cornell University experts, they recommend not relying on IGRs as they don’t kill bed bugs quickly.

  1. Pyrethrins
  2. N-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide
  3. Piperonyl butoxide

The span of room space that can be treated by this product goes up to 16 ft. x 16 ft. with an 8 ft. ceiling of 2,000 cu ft. of unobstructed space

There are however displeased reviews concerning the product with mentions of the gaining pesticide resistance seen when using Hot Shot bombs. There have been concerns too, regarding their efficacy with use in homes that have had a long-standing infestation of severe bed bug infestations.

Raid bed bug bomb

This is another product that is only meant for indoor use and no outdoor option as in Hot Shot bomb. The product has chemicals that are considered effective insecticides.

Raid Fogger

This productis said to bear optimum efficacy in the treatment of infestation of bed bugs, lice, ticks, carpet beetles, bed bug eggs, dust mites and cloth moths. Well, their website certainly lists the following chemicals and indeed, they can kill the said arthropods.

  1. 3-phenoxybenzyl-(1RS,3RS,1RS,3SR)-2,2-dimethyl-3-(2-methylprop-1-enyl)
  2. Cyclopropanecarboxylate
  3. N-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide
  4. Other ingredients accounting for 98.07%

They also have a good information system and customer care as they have provided instruction on how to use them.

You should check out their website well categorized for easy navigation and cap it all with a good customer care service to all the ‘it doesn’t work’ reviews.

There have been claims pertaining its ability to kill the said arthropods on contact. This has been proven to be far-fetched and results are not instant.

Reviews form Walmart and Amazon indicate an equal review number for both best and poor reviews. This could mean that the way people use it is different with different factors affecting the efficacy of the product.

One downside is however for sure, that the product is not effective in reaching out to bed bugs in cracks and crevices and neither is it for moderate to severe infestations.

Smoke bomb bed bugs

Another fogger that is indicated for the treatment of bed bugs and other crawling arthropods. It is also effective for the elimination of flying insects. It does this through the chemical ingredient, permethrin in appreciable quantities lethal to the critters. The fogger acts by emitting a smoke of the chemical compound.

Unlike other products that have a residual effect and this may be both advantageous and disadvantageous. The residual effect may be handy in the treatment of left-over or re-entering bed bugs. However, this is good since it does not leave a residual smell which may be irritating.

There are smoke bombs of different brands including Fumite Smoke bomb, Insect Smoke Generator, Cluster Smoke Bomb among others as you may come across in online shopping platforms.

Complains are based on their non-instance killer potential, its inability to reach hide-outs of bed bugs and their inefficacy in severe infestations.

Where to Buy or Get the Best

What should you consider when buying?

  1. The ingredients should be in the quantities that have been stated in their website and marketing platforms.
  2. Conduct a thorough research into the efficacy of the active components of the products and ensuring that while in the market, it has been approved.
  3. Check to see that there are seals or logos of approval by relevant regulatory bodies.
  4. Check to confirm that the instructions are stated and that you can understand them well.
  5. Ask those who have experience with bed bug bombs to guide you. You can never go wrong with such advice.

What are the top brands and where can you buy them?

  1. Ortho Home Defense Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer Aerosol
  2. Hot Shot
  3. Raid Bed Bug Bomb
  4. Fumite Smoke Bomb
  5. Insect Smoke Generator
  6. Cluster Smoke Bomb

Natural, Nontoxic Bed Bug Control

Until recent years, bed bugs were only figures of childhood rhyme for most North Americans. Infestations, though common prior to widespread DDT use, had been largely eradicated in the 1940s. That all changed abruptly.

Probably due to evolving pesticide resistance, the news is full of bed bugs creeping out from coast to coast, hitching rides in unsuspecting suitcases, filling entire apartment buildings with their maddening itch. In New York City, reported infestations rose from 500 in 2004 to 10,000 in 2009: twenty-fold in just five years! In every state, bed bugs are back — and they are making themselves at home.

How can we evict our unwelcome houseguests? Many call the exterminator in despair, even those of us who cringe at the thought of poisonous fumes filling the sanctuaries of our homes. As the bed bugs become immune to more and more chemicals, afflicted households may try toxic spray after spray without success. This tiny insect, not even known to spread disease, causes mighty cities to tremble in fear. Whether or not we’ve been directly affected, many are losing sleep.

Take heart — there are safe, sane approaches to reclaiming your sleeping space and freeing yourself from this uncomfortable obsession! First, let’s separate bed bug fact from fiction. Then we’ll move on to outline the basics of some simple nontoxic alternatives that work (and those that don’t).

What do I need to know about bed bugs?

  • Brownish and oval in shape, adult bed bugs grow to 4-5mm with segmented abdomens. Nymphs are smaller and may appear translucent.
  • Bed bugs are mostly active at night, with peak feeding times during the hours before dawn. You will rarely see one crawling in the open during the day, though they will emerge at any hour if hungry.
  • Bed bugs cannot jump or fly, and must crawl to transport themselves. They are not adept at climbing slick surfaces such as shiny metal or hard plastic, but find fabric, wood, and most walls easy to navigate. They travel about one meter per minute.
  • As indoor pests, bed bugs know no season, and can be found any time of year.
  • Bed bugs can survive up to a year without food, so simply isolating an infested room to starve them is not a wise tactic. They are more likely to find their way to the rest of the home or simply wait it out.
  • They will feed on dogs and cats if necessary, but humans are their preferred hosts. Pets are not believed to transport bed bugs or cause infestations. Bed bugs will not willingly remain on any warm body longer than necessary to feed, preferring to nestle in the folds of items further removed from our body heat, including bags, shoes, and coats.
  • If you live in a multi-unit building such as an apartment or condo, you will need to involve your building’s management in any bed bug infestation. If you have this problem, it is extremely likely at least some of your neighbors do too, though they may not know it. If you only treat your own unit, re-infestation is almost inevitable. In many cases, the management is legally responsible for getting rid of the pests, but their methods may not be safe or even effective, and many landlords and managers try to evade paying for treatments which tenants seek independently.
  • Contrary to myth, bed bugs are just as interested in a sparkling clean home as an unsanitary messy one (though reducing clutter makes eradication easier). The only reason they may become more troublesome in low-income housing is lack of funds for effective treatment.
  • How do bed bugs get into my home? Bed bugs can stow away in bags or luggage, the folds or pockets of clothing, on furniture, bedding, or even library books. They can be found in almost any public space, including movie theaters, buses and trains, restaurants and retail stores.

How do I know if my home is infested?

  • You may see an actual bed bug, though in light infestations they are seldom seen. If you find one, keep it for conclusive identification, as many other insects look similar. Discarded insect shells may also be a clue.
  • You may notice small (grain of sand to grain of rice sized) brown or red stains on bedding or walls, caused by insect feces or blood. The eggs are tiny (1 mm) and white, and can occasionally be discovered in mattress crevices.
  • Bed bug bites can be small itchy red spots or larger welts, often appearing in a line along the skin. Especially in children, the skin may be broken from excessive scratching. Unlike flea bites, bed bug bites do not have a red dot at their center.
  • If you suspect an infestation but aren’t sure, try using indicator traps to confirm their presence.
  • In larger infestations, an unpleasant musty smell from the bugs’ scent glands may be noticeable. Some describe the smell as “rotting raspberries”.

Natural, family-friendly treatment options

Diatomaceous earth

This is no “fringe” natural remedy: Diatomaceous earth (DE) is thoroughly scientifically validated and promoted by mainstream public health sites. Even professional pest-controllers, armed with an arsenal of chemical products, are increasingly turning to safe and reliable DE for bed bug control. The dust should be applied lightly but thoroughly to all cracks (between floorboards and in furniture for example) and any hidden recesses in which an insect could evade a vacuum or wiping cloth. Try to think like a bed bug: they are experts at seeking out crevices and tiny holes.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use the DE specifically labeled “insect-control” DE or “food-grade” DE, and NOT the “pool grade” DE marketed for swimming pools, which is hazardous to inhale. The insect control DE uses a different size of diatoms, not considered to pose a health risk.

How does DE work? Essentially, it’s a desiccant: it dehydrates the insect to death. The dust adheres to the bug’s body and destroys the waxy layer which retains necessary moisture. The powder is long-lasting and works mechanically, not chemically, so the bugs can’t become resistant. There’s no poison involved — you can feel comfortable using DE around your children and pets.

Safe, eco-friendly bed bug spray

We like the Stop Bugging Me! Bed Bug Spray as a combined approach with diatomaceous earth. The spray can be used to treat hard-to-penetrate areas on your mattress. Make sure to be thorough in your application, and allow plenty of time for drying before you sleep on it. The ingredients are all plant-based and biodegradable, and it has been tested and approved by the EPA and FDA. Use this on luggage when traveling to deter bed bugs for up to 2 weeks.

Monitor traps

When you’re not sure if you have a problem, the First Response Bed Bug Monitor Trap will give you answers. It uses a combination of heat, CO2, and pheromones to attract bed bugs — once the insect comes in contact with the trap it is stuck fast to the adhesive surface. This is an essential for hotel stays if you want to be sure you’re not bringing home any unwanted souvenirs. Monitor traps are easy and safe to carry in your luggage and absolutely simple to use.

There are a few verified methods of using heat to destroy bed bugs and eggs on individual items. For clothing and other soft items such as pillows and duvets, one option is 30 minutes in a clothes dryer set on “high”, or 30 minutes washing in very hot water (at least 120F).

A less energy-intensive alternative in warmer climates or summertime weather is solar heat-treatment: place up to 7 pounds of clothing, bedding, or small pieces of furniture into a black plastic bag, with the opening tightly sealed. Bed bugs die at 115F, but the temperature in the bag must be even hotter to ensure the heat penetrates into all of their hiding places. Place the bag outside in direct sunlight until the internal temperature reaches 115F for at least four hours. On a sunny 95F day, this can be accomplished in a single afternoon; you can also try a car parked in the sun with all of the windows up. Use a thermometer to verify your results.

Yes, both bed bugs and their eggs can be frozen to death. This is rarely the best choice for large-scale decontamination, unless you live in an extremely cold climate and are able to completely abandon your house during the winter for a sufficient length of time (the internal temperature would need to be verified during your absence: this is rarely a practical solution). Clothing, pillows, bedding, or soft toys can be placed in a deep-freeze for four days to destroy the insects and eggs. Use a thermometer to verify that your freezer is operating consistently at below −12 °C (10 °F), and don’t open the freezer during the treatment time.

See also:  Four species of cockroaches found in Singapore, Environment News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Prevention is the best medicine

If they haven’t yet taken up residence, now is the time to strengthen your bed bug defenses. —

  • Be prepared when traveling with monitor traps and safe spray for your bags.
  • Use luggage racks and avoid leaving bags on the floor or on upholstered hotel furniture.
  • If you buy used clothing or other fabric items, make sure they go directly from the store into a hot wash and dry cycle.
  • Keep your bedroom as clean and clutter-free as possible to minimize hiding places and aid in early detection.

What doesn’t work:

“Bug bombs” (aerosol foggers)

These simple-to-use air-dispersed insecticides may seem tempting: after all, how could a bug escape a poison dispersed throughout the air? In the case of bed bugs, very easily. Bug bombs work on bugs which are out in the open at the time of use; bed bugs are generally very well protected in deep recesses where the chemical will not penetrate. These are hazardous tactics and not recommended against bed bugs. In addition to unwanted chemical exposure, bug bombs have caused explosions and fires.

Boric Acid

Though sometimes recommended for pest-control use, boric acid is generally discredited for use on bed bugs because they do not groom, and grooming is the general route of ingestion of boric acid.

Over-the-counter bug-killers such as sprays and roach traps

Again, pesticide resistance has guaranteed that most drug-store insecticides do more harm than good. Even if potent, the chemical simply cannot reach the bugs’ hiding places, and is often inert once dry. Any spray not specifically developed for bed bug use is likely to be useless.

Lawn and garden sprays

Never use pesticides marketed for outdoor use in your home. Pesticides should never be applied to bedding, clothing, or electronics: these products can often be safely treated with heat. NEVER spray any pesticide directly onto a person or animal.

Before you attack the insects, pre-treat your bedroom.

Give yourself a safe sleeping situation, and set yourself up for success.

  • Thoroughly vacuum all crevices of your mattress and box-spring, as well as the entire room and all furniture, inside and out. When you’re finished, take the vacuum cleaner outside, remove the bag and dispose of it so the bugs cannot escape back into your home.
  • Treat all bedding using high heat as recommended above.
  • Enclose your mattress AND box-spring in bed bug-proof encasements. These can be bought at major chain stores that sell beddings or online — make sure the encasements are specifically labeled for bed bug use. Check online reviews to verify that the encasement you are buying works: a good one should keep any bugs accidentally trapped inside the mattress from escaping.
  • Treat your bed frame thoroughly by cleaning and dusting all crevices with diatomaceous earth (see above). If your current bed does not have four legs (platform bed or futon, for example), consider replacing your bed frame. Simple metal frames are inexpensive and easy to find at furniture stores.
  • Use interceptor cups to prevent bugs from climbing onto the bed, and as an indicator of the ongoing presence of bed bugs in your room. Monitor these cups and clean them at least weekly, or as needed.
  • Move your bed away from any walls or furniture and eliminate any clutter around the bed. The bed should be touching only the interceptor cups. If you follow all these steps thoroughly, with luck you will be able to sleep bed-bug-free even while continuing to treat the room.
  • Don’t abandon your bed to sleep in a different room — chances are, you will just entice the bugs to follow you. It’s possible the problem is confined to the bed room — try to keep it that way.
  • Keep your room as clean and clutter-free as possible to help your treatment work more efficiently. You may wish to discard low-value upholstered furniture or other potential habitats to make your job easier. Ensure furniture will not be inadvertently re-used, allowing infestation to spread to other homes.
  • Returning from a trip? Do not bring your luggage into the bedroom (or on the couch). Unpack your luggage in an outdoor storage are such as the garage. Bedbugs are often imported to your home via your luggage, since hotel rooms commonly harbor bedbugs.

Let’s all take a few deep breaths. Bed bugs are annoying, but they don’t pose a serious health risk — unlike many of the pesticides deployed to eradicate them. In many cases, the panic of an infestation (real or imagined) has led to rash overuse of pesticides causing hospitalization or even death. Not all homemade remedies are safe, either: even essential oils in inappropriate concentrations can be harmful.

More and more consumers have turned to the internet to research natural remedies for bed bugs. There is no shortage of advice offered — from the useful, to the wacky, to the fascinating-but-impractical. Some intriguing ideas, like using kidney bean leaves whose tiny spines impale and immobilize bed bugs, sound great until the obvious challenges become clear. Where would we find enough kidney bean leaves to cover our bedroom floor every night? In developing nations, where farming communities use this tactic, the leaves are spread nightly, then gathered up in the morning and burned outside. For many of us with busy lives in urban or suburban neighborhoods, this daily bean-leaf bonfire is not a viable option.

Elimination of bedbugs takes diligence, patience, and an eye for details. This is a great excuse to cut down on clutter and make time for that deep-cleaning routine. Remember, you are smarter than those slow, reclusive bed bugs! It’s just a matter of working systematically, isolating your bed, and then getting into the nooks and crannies. Natural pest control can and does work. Good luck and sleep well!

About the Author

Greg Seaman
Originally from Long Island, NY, Greg Seaman founded Eartheasy in 2000 out of concern for the environment and a desire to help others live more sustainably. As Editor, Greg combines his upbringing in the cities of New York, Boston and San Francisco with the contrast of 31 years of living ‘off-grid’ to give us a balanced perspective on sustainable living. Greg spends his free time gardening, working on his home and building a wooden sailboat with hand tools.

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