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Bug Bomb

Summary: When all else fails, set off a bug bomb to cure what's ailing you. At least, that appears to me what desperate people do when they have pest problems. But, bug bombs often make the problem worse.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last fifty years, you could not help but hear or see advertisements extolling the effectiveness of pesticide fogs. Cartoon-like cans of one pesticide or another, were shown spewing gaseous clouds that found its way into every nook and cranny, on a seek and destroy mission to kill insects inside a wall. œRaid!!! the insects yelled in chorus, as the cartoon spray can killed the animated bugs. The Raid can even had a sinister smile on its face conveying the message, œThe party's over!

So, consumers can be forgiven for thinking they can buy a bug bomb and all their pests will be gone. But, the reality is that bug bombs, or total release aerosols, often cause more harm than good. For example, let's just say you saw a cockroach crawling across a countertop. By the time you realized what it was it had escaped between the counter and stove. Once that happens you can never totally rest easy until you see the dead body of that roach. All sorts of thoughts of roach population explosions fill our minds.

You rush to the hardware store where the manager recommends a bug bomb. œThis will fill the room with stuff that will flush him out and kill him, promises the store clerk. You bring your weapon into your kitchen, determine where you want to concentrate the toxic gas and you set off the bomb, leaving the house to escape personal harm. The little bug bomb does its thing, releasing seven to eight minutes of fine aerosol mist into the air.

What you don't know is that several things are happening during your absence. One, the mist is going up in the air in somewhat of a pattern that resembles an upside down pyramid. After the little mist particles reach their ultimate height of about six feet, or so, gravity brings the droplets back down to the floor leaving a slick, oily residue. (You forgot to put newspaper down under the bug bomb, didn't you?) Two, no one said anything about directing the spray into cracks and crevices, so only a few of the micro-particles find their way between the counter and stove. Just enough of the stuff to irritate the sensitive receptors of the cockroach and send him scampering to find better hiding places.

Before the bomb you had a pretty good idea where your enemy was hiding. Now, the roach has moved ten feet in any direction and greatly expanded the total search area. It is not a catastrophe, but the little bug bomb certainly has made your task more difficult. The lesson here is, wrong tool, wrong insect, wrong timing.

Bug bombs have their place, to be certain, but they are best used for flying insects. The materials in the bombs are nearly always some type of pyrethrin or synthetic pyrethroid product used to knock down insects. They usually contain nothing that provide any residual effect. The bomb goes off, knocks down any insect it comes in contact with, but leaves no killing agent behind. Great for killing a roomful of flies, but not so great for insects that hide.

Next time you have a pest learn the habits of the pest. Understanding where a pest is likely to live will tell you what type pesticide to use, be it an aerosol, pesticide dust like Tempo 1%, residual spray like Suspend SC or flowable powder like Talstar Pro.

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