Is a Flea Fogger the Answer?
Flea bombs, sometimes called a flea fogger, have been used for years to effectively control fleas in homes throughout the world. But are they the best flea treatment for home? Using a flea fogger can put both your family and pets at risk due to the chemical residue that remains after use and should only be used in extreme circumstances where there is a massive flea infestation (or a battle that you have just been unable to win for some time).
Unfortunately, foggers don’t usually reach all the places where fleas could be hiding and while it may be part of a complete flea removal solution, please don’t forget that your pets still need to be treated separately and that the instructions need to be followed carefully to avoid complications.
Usually, if you have a bit of a flea problem, the best way to remedy the situation is to remove the fleas from your pets and treat your home with something like DE. However, sometimes this is often not enough! If you are finding these pests everywhere and keep getting bitten by fleas on a daily basis, should you consider using a flea fogger?
What Exactly Are They and How Do Flea Bombs Work?
A flea fogger is a small aerosol canister that contains insecticide. To use this flea product, simple release one of them in each regular sized room to kill the fleas. The five chemicals that are usually responsible for controlling the flea outbreak are Cypermethrin, Methroprene, Nylar, Permethrin and Tetramethrin. Depending on brand, your flea fogger could contain one or more of those active ingredients and since they can be potentially dangerous for pets and even yourself, please make sure you leave the house while bombing.
It’s important to note that foggers for fleas wont usually achieve a 100% removal rate for fleas in your home. However, I have found them very effective on empty houses that have carpeted floors (such as when a landlord is waiting for a home to be filled with new tenants). Since there is no furniture and other obstacles, the fogger mist usually reaches all areas in the house and the insecticide has some time to sit undisturbed on the floor, making sure that any survivors are eliminated. Since flea eggs are tiny and usually fall into the fibers in the carpet, this is actually an important step for these foggers to work properly.
So do flea bombs work? Yes, they are fairly effective for killing fleas but due to the toxins they release, I recommend only using them when the flea situation is very bad. There are also a few other problems like:
They usually have difficulty reaching places under things like couches, which is often where the fleas are hiding.
Based on my experience, they only get rid of about 80% of the fleas in your home. However, the survivors can usually be killed with 2-3 repeat treatments (1 per week is fine).
Flea bombs will not kill the fleas on your pets! You also need to treat your dogs and get rid of the fleas on your cats as well otherwise you will be fighting a losing battle.
Please note that it’s also possible to purchase a “bug bomb”. This option promises to kill all sorts of insects in the home. However, if you are just having a flea problem, I recommend getting something that is only aimed that this task for maximum effect.
10 Flea Fogger Safety Warnings!
Since these devices essentially spray a flea poison all over your home, there are some health concerns that you need to know about to prevent any potential complications. I have put together a checklist for your easy reference:
- Flea Fogger Warnings Skull image Importantly, flea bombs must not be used on your pets and can cause sickness or death if they are exposed to the fumes!
- Electrical appliances (and lights) need to be turned off and covered as foggers are usually highly flammable! All gas ignition systems should also be turned off as this can pose a potential fire hazard. While I understand that blowing up the house will definitely get rid of the fleas, I don’t recommend it as a viable solution. 😉
- Only use a single flea bomb per room! Using too many will leave a large amount of chemical residue that can put your family and animals at risk.
- Be careful of using flea foggers if someone in the family has an asthma problem as sometimes it can cause an attack, even a couple days after the treatment has been completed.
- Never inhale the gas from the bomb. Since it contains insecticides that kill fleas, I am sure the reasons are fairly obvious. If you have any negative symptoms, always consult a medical practitioner immediately.
- Make sure all foodstuffs and other consumables (like fruit, etc.) are placed in a cupboard or taken out the house.
- Please make sure that all pets and people are out the house for at least 8 hours while bombing the house to ensure that you don’t risk anyone’s health. Remember that the poison can easily kill fish so make sure you cover their tank properly before fogging!
- Make sure you keep your face away from the canister when deploying it. Flea bombs usually spray the gas upwards (vertically) and serious damage can be done if this hits you square in the face.
- Never use the bombs inside closed cupboards or place them in an enclosed space.
- Birds are extremely sensitive to the toxins in the foggers. Even if your bird cages are outside the home, move them as far away as possible from the windows and doors.
How to Flea Bomb a House
Provided you understand the risks and take necessary steps to either eliminate or reduce them, flea bombs are good for controlling a big flea problem. In this section, let’s look at a 7 steps that need to be done in preparation and investigate what needs to be done after application.
7 Important Steps Before You Fog the House:
- Importantly, vacuum the house. This ensures that the fleas are the most active before treatment and ensures a higher success rate for killing them. I also make a habit of hot washing my pet’s bedding (which is outside) to kill any fleas.
- Turn the electricity off on your distribution board. Alternatively, unplug everything in your home and turn the plug and light switches off. Make sure that your heaters, underfloor thermostats and aircons are offline. It’s extremely important to make sure your TV’s are off. If you have a larger, CRT screen, I recommend turning it off a couple hours before bombing the house as these can potentially store charge and contain static for some time.
- All toiletries should be stored away safely, unless of course you would like to brush your teeth with poison 😉
- Shut all the windows to keep the fog inside for as long as possible. You can even use household tape to seal up the windows if they don’t close properly.
- Movable household plants should be taken outside as the poison can damage them.
- Since fleas could take shelter in your cupboards, its helpful to selectively open certain doors during the treatment. However, be aware that the exposure to the flea insecticide may require the washing of additional clothes and other items.
- Read the back label instructions carefully! While these are the steps I usually take for using flea bombs in homes, there may be important differences for your product. To work out if the flea bomb will cover an entire room, simply multiply the width, breadth and height to give you the cubic area needed. My room is 7 feet wide, 11 feet long and 9 feet high so I would need a fogger that covers 693 cubic feet for it to be effective.
4 Important Steps for Actually Deploying the Fogger:
- Firstly, lay a sheet of newspaper on the floor (in the middle of the room) and place one of the canisters on it. Don’t deploy the fogger until all of them are in place in other areas of the house.
- Ensure that you have completed all the steps in the preparation checklist above. It’s very important not to miss anything if you don’t want to have any complications.
- Shake the flea bomb well and starting from the furthest room the door, firmly push the top of each flea bomb to start the fogging process. I usually get each one of my family members to help me with this. Upon counting to three, we all deploy the canisters (in different rooms) and then run for the door, closing it behind us. If you have anyone that can help you with this process, this is definitely the recommended way to do it as it ensures you minimize the exposure to the fog before it wipes out the flea infestation in your home.
- Make sure you push the release valve properly (push it hard!) so that it clips, otherwise it will stop as soon as you release the pressure.
4 Things to Do After Bombing the House:
- After the 8 hours, I recommend opening all the windows and doors and letting the place air out for an hour or so before bringing pets, etc. back inside. Once you have turned the power back on, you can also use your aircon and fans to speed up the process.
- Remember, some products require the chemical residue to remain on the carpets, etc. for at least a couple days! This ensures that all fleas are killed and makes sure that fleas in their earlier stages (larvae, etc.) do not escape your wrath. This is actually why I personally bomb the house just before I go on holiday with the family, giving the product plenty of time to do its job.
- Since flea bombs essentially coat your home with a layer of insecticide, it’s very important to clean thoroughly after treatment. I recommend using gloves while performing this work. Mopping the floors, wiping down the counters and cleaning up will ensure that there are no toxic residue remaining in your home. You also may need to wash various items that could have been exposed to the poisonous fog.
- Vacuum all your carpets. This time however, it’s mainly to remove any dead fleas, eggs and other nasty remnants of the flea infestation. You can also check out a few more home remedies to get rid of fleas in this popular community guide.
What Are Some of the Best Flea Foggers?
Firstly, I always recommend purchasing flea bombs from a verified, trusted outlet that will stand behind its product instead of just trying to push a quick sale. I have found that there are a number of cheap brands, usually sold at retail supermarkets that are generally low quality. While the choice is still yours, I recommend taking a quick look at some of the short flea fogger reviews below that I have personally put together for my readers. Provided its a legit website (such as Amazon), you can often get excellent discounts on bulk purchases but be careful of amazingly cheap prices for usually expensive products as they don’t contain the advertised ingredients which can cause all sorts of health risks and other problems. Please note that you may have slightly different experiences with these brands but here are a few that have really worked for me in the past.
These are my preferred product due to the absence of CFCs (which damages the environment) and its quick killing power. Another upside is that it controls fleas for about 4 months (according to the label, a bit less in my experience) so it’s great for a long term solution, provided you are also keeping your animals free of fleas.
While other products also contain IGR, this brand is extremely effective at preventing eggs/larvae, etc. from developing into adult fleas. I also like the fact that it doesn’t leave a horrible smell after treatment. This product also kills ticks which is great!
This product has been recommended by a number of readers as it kills a number of pests in addition to fleas. According to the label, it can eliminate lice, ticks and even bed bugs! The canisters also cover a larger area then others and while I haven’t personally used this one, feedback indicates that it works well!
In conclusion, flea bombs can be used as part of an effective flea management program. However, I only recommend them if you have a serious flea invasion. Remember to examine the instructions closely! Also remember that even the best flea fogger won’t do much unless you take the time to proactively keep fleas off your pets and out your home. As per usual, prevention is much better than a cure and I recommend taking every effort to keep them away by using spot on treatments, flea combs and occasional inspection. You can also use diatomaceous earth for flea problems as a great natural solution. Fleas are much easier to kill when their numbers are low so it’s best to catch them as early as possible before their reproduction gains momentum which may help prevent the need of using a flea fogger. Thanks for reading and I invite you to share your comments below!