When you have a major cockroach problem the temptation to use a do-it-yourself bug bomb might be great. However, a recent study by researchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU) has found that this type of insect “solution” is actually quite ineffective. The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.
Besides being unreliable, foggers – generally known as roach bombs or bug bombs – kill indiscriminately, meaning that they kill both desirable and undesirable insects in the home. In addition, even though modern foggers are usually odorless and you often can’t even tell that they have been used, they still contain the same toxic chemicals. These toxins settle on surfaces, bedding and other exposed objects, making it virtually impossible to avoid exposure to them, even when the instructions are carefully followed.
All things considered, then, bug bombs are not the solution to a cockroach infestation.
Why bug bombs are ineffective
As reported by Science Daily, bug bombs are ineffective because they don’t reach the places where cockroaches generally hang out, like inside cupboards and on the underside of surfaces. The chemicals released by foggers actually tend to land on floors and countertops, leaving the cockroaches unharmed but posing a serious risk to the humans and animals that have the most contact with those surfaces.
For their study, the scientists tested four different commercial bug bombs, each of which had different active ingredients. The foggers were tested in apartment buildings with mild to severe infestations of Blattella germanica, known as German cockroaches.
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After setting off the “bombs” – being careful to follow the manufacturers’ instructions and sticking to the EPA’s guidelines for safe fogger release — the researchers monitored the 20 homes used in the study for between two weeks and one month.
The researchers observed “no declines from the pre-intervention estimates.”
Zachary DeVries, an NCSU postdoctoral researcher and the study’s lead author, noted, “The bug-bomb products did absolutely nothing to control cockroach populations in these homes.”
To further test the efficacy of these products, lab cockroaches and cockroaches caught on site at the test homes were placed in inescapable, greased cages and then exposed to various bug bombs.
“The lab roaches, which are not hardy, had high mortality, as expected,” DeVries explained. “The roaches captured in the homes and then brought back, however, had far lower mortality rates than you would expect from direct exposure to bug bombs, confirming the ineffectiveness of these products when used for German cockroach control.”
The research team did find, however, that commercially available or professional grade gel baits, which are applied selectively with a syringe to the exact spots where cockroaches hide, were effective in eliminating the pesky critters in all 10 homes where these products were tested. Since the gel can be places in cracks and crevices where cockroaches congregate, it can safely be kept away from areas where pets and children roam.
Natural ways to eliminate cockroaches
Those who want to avoid all chemicals when keeping cockroaches at bay will be happy to know that there are definitely natural ways to do so effectively.
Cockroaches: Place a few drops of citronella oil (peppermint oil or lemongrass oil can also be added) on cotton wool balls and place them in cupboards or anywhere that cockroaches are active. Make a spray of water (half a cup) mixed with 5 drops of cypress oil and 10 drops of peppermint oil. Spray anywhere that cockroaches frequent.
Other natural solutions include mint oil, bay leaves, a homemade coffee trap and more.
Learn more about natural remedies at GrowYourMedicine.com.