Do Roach Foggers Work? The Truth About Choosing the Best Roach Fogger or Bomb

If you’ve been searching high and low for the best roach fogger guaranteed to blast every last cockroach into oblivion, just know that we feel your fury.

Because cockroaches are many things. But they are most definitely not cool. These filthy creatures are quite capable of spreading diseases, and they are all too happy to move into your home and live with you like a deadbeat relative.

So if you find one of these fast-moving bugs scurrying around your home – or more than one – no one would blame you for wanting to go straight to the most extreme solution possible.

But before you go rushing out in search of a UN Security Council resolution and permission to begin carpet bombing your apartment, read this first.

Because bombing these pests with even the strongest roach fogger may not be the solution you’re looking for.

What’s a Roach Bomb?

If you were hoping to live out your 80’s action movie fantasies, you may be disappointed. Roach bombs, aka roach foggers, aren’t actually explosive. What they do instead is release a liquid pesticide in the form of a fine mist.

Also sometimes known as total release foggers, they eject the pesticide they contain in a fog that can penetrate into cracks and crevices around your home. Exactly the kinds of cracks and crevices that cockroaches love to hide in.

Although it may seem like it, very few foggers use poison gas. Actual fumigants that kill bugs through the air they breathe in are a dangerous class of chemicals and are usually restricted to use by professionals only.

For the average Joe and Jane, the roach foggers typically available for over-the-counter use contain a contact poison. It’s only their method of delivery that sets them apart from a regular can of roach spray.

So essentially, roach bombs and foggers are pretty much roach sprays with a different delivery system.

Do Roach Foggers Work?

When you have a roach infestation, time is of the essence. Which means you don’t have the time – nor the energy – to be wasting on things that don’t work.

So it makes sense that you demand to know: do roach foggers work?

Well, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Like any other tool, a roach fogger is only as good as the way you use it.

What roach foggers ultimately do best is to cover a large area with a lot of pesticide in a short space of time. This will kill any cockroaches that are out in the open, along with just about any other bug that comes into contact with the poison.

So if you have a high cockroach population, these devices can help bring it down to a more manageable level.

However, cockroaches know when they’re being poisoned. At least some of the time. And these pests are extremely fast-moving and extremely good at hiding.

Many foggers struggle to penetrate the tiny cracks and crevices where the majority of a cockroach population will be hiding. And even if they do, a fogger can cause the cockroaches to flee.

So instead of having a concentrated population in one particular area, you may spread the problem around and inadvertently make it worse. This is especially true in roach infested apartment buildings, where the incorrect use of foggers can cause a problem to spread to adjoining units.

Pros and Cons of Roach Bombs

Now that you know the general gist of what roach bombs work for. Here are a few pros and cons to using them to help you decide if this is a feasible roach control tactic for you.

PRO: Easy to use

With most roach foggers, you press down the button to activate the device and then leave. It’s about the easiest method of pest control there could possibly be. You don’t need to look for cockroaches or even get particularly close to them. All you need to do is let the fogger do its work.

PRO: They kill lots of bugs

Generally, foggers project the pesticide up into the air, and it drifts slowly downward to coat the surfaces in your home. This will kill any bugs that are underneath the poison rain. 

So if you’re trying to clear a bug-infested area – i.e. long neglected storage area, garage, cellar – then a fogger will do the trick.

PRO: Good for quick results

That is, it’s good for quick results when you have a severe infestations in a controlled environment. For example, if you have a detached home with a heavy infestation of cockroaches, foggers can be a useful tool.

Once the cockroaches have already spread throughout the home, you don’t need to worry about spreading them anymore. And the use of a couple of cockroach bombs will quickly knock down the population.

This is important, as cockroach control revolves around getting a handle on the cockroach’s astonishing reproductive rate. So in this admittedly narrow set of circumstances, foggers can be a useful part of cockroach control.

CON: Foggers can make the problem worse

Cockroaches are usually fairly predictable. They will tend to aggregate in areas with a ready supply of food and water. Typically, this means kitchens. Which is why behind appliances, such as behind the fridge and kitchen cabinets, are the first places to check when looking for cockroaches.

However, releasing a pesticide into the air can cause the roaches to flee and set up shop somewhere else. Suddenly, you could be finding cockroaches anywhere in the home. And this problem is multiplied when you’re talking about apartments.

It’s not difficult for cockroaches to spread from one apartment to another, and using a fogger only makes this more likely. Once the roaches spread to multiple apartments through the building, the problem becomes many times worse as neighbors inadvertently re-infest one another.

CON: Indiscriminate application

The whole point of a roach bomb is to spread pesticide all over the place. This kills roaches, sure, but it’s not exactly good for your health, either. The pesticide residue will settle on any surface, including your dining table, kitchen countertops, and anywhere else the poison can reach.

Once the fogging is over, you’ll need to clean your surfaces carefully to remove any pesticide residue.

CON: No residual protection

Because of the way they work, roach bombs are based around pesticides that offer no residual protection. This is for your own safety, since the pesticide can get almost anywhere in the house. You don’t want a chemical that’s going to continue to be active long after the treatment is complete.

However, it also means that once a chemical has evaporated, it will no longer have any effect on the roaches. So while a fogger will kill a lot of roaches in one go, it won’t have any long-term effect on the population.

What is the Best Roach Fogger?

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably realized that a fogger is not necessarily the answer to your cockroach problems.

But if you fit into the criteria in which a cockroach fogger can be useful – for example, if you have a severe infestation in a detached building where spreading the bugs around isn’t a concern – you may still want to give bug bombs a try.

In that case, here are your best options.

Raid Deep Reach Fogger

If you’re looking for a traditional roach fogger, you can’t do much better than this one. In fact, this is the only halfway decent roach fogger out there and the only one of its kind that we’re recommending.

And don’t be fooled by the tiny 1 1/2 ounce cans – each of these little cans can cover up to 625 ft.²

With three cans in the package, this gives you enough pesticide to either treat a very large house or perform multiple treatments in the same space.

The active ingredient in this product, cypermethrin, is a proven cockroach killer that also has some residual effect. So after using this product, make sure to wipe down any surfaces the pesticide may have settled on so that it doesn’t come into contact with your food.

Still, a residual effect is a nice thing to have when you’re dealing with troublesome pests like cockroaches, since the pesticide will stay active and kill roaches that come into contact with it long after the chemical has dried.

These products have a strong smell, and like all foggers, you should only use them when you’re ready to leave the house immediately after. Clear out all people and pets and let the fogger do its work, filling the air with pesticide. It’s probably best to stay out for at least six hours, or even more if possible.

Ultimately, the weaknesses of this product are the same weaknesses that all foggers have. While you may kill a lot of roaches quickly using this method, you’ll probably find that you will need to do it multiple times.

Overall, though – if you must use a roach fogger, this one is the best there is.

The Best Roach Bomb Isn’t a Bomb

It isn’t hard to see why cockroach foggers are often compared to bombs. Like bombs, they are a powerful but unsophisticated tool that kills more or less indiscriminately.

When used correctly, foggers can be very effective. But they aren’t particularly targeted.

But pest control products have come a long way in recent years. There are more elegant ways to control roaches than simply throwing as much pesticide as you can get your hands on at them.

Why an IGR is the Best Roach ‘Bomb’

Yes, we’re talking about Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). Most notably, Gentrol’s Point Source IGR.

Although it works a little bit like a fogger, this product isn’t actually a bug bomb of any kind. However, you may find it works at least as effectively if not more so than a roach fogger. It has similar perks as well, such as…

Ease of Use

These tiny discs are even easier to use than a roach fogger. You simply squeeze one end of the plastic disc and set it down somewhere in the area where the cockroaches are living.

The disc will slowly emit the chemical it contains, eventually filling the air so that the roaches can’t help but absorb it. One of these discs can cover an area of 75 square feet.

Kills Roaches

Like roach foggers, IGRs kill roaches – the difference is that IGRs kill them before they are even born.

You see, the best thing about Gentrol Point Source is that it contains an insect growth regulator that prevents juvenile insects from reaching adulthood, and they sterilize the adults so that they can’t produce any more babies.

This is the best way to get a grip on the cockroach’s reproductive rate, which is a large part of what makes them so difficult to control.

And best of all, these chemicals are completely harmless to people and pets. So unlike a fogger, you don’t need to evacuate your home after using this product. You can leave it in place and let it do its thing while you go on with your life. Slowly but surely, the cockroach problem will diminish as the roaches find themselves unable to reproduce.

Roach Bomb vs IGR

Compared to indiscriminate roach bombs, an IGR is a smarter way to get rid of roaches in almost every way but one: speed.

That’s because IGRs can be very effective, but the weakness of all IGRs is that they take time to have an effect. While they will prevent any new roaches from being born, they won’t do anything about the ones you already have.

IGRs are designed not to kill but to sterilize. So these products are best used in conjunction with a quicker means of killing living cockroaches, like a spray or a fogger.

If you wanted to, you could use the Raid fogger mentioned above to kill a lot of the bugs, then follow it up with Gentrol. The IGR would provide the long-term control that is lacking in a traditional roach fogger.

When dealing with cockroaches, it’s important to remember that what seems like the most aggressive method of treatment is not necessarily the best.

Cockroaches are resilient and adaptable, and their extremely high reproductive rate and ability to feed on just about anything make them very tough to control once they’ve established a population in your home.

But as a human, the advantage you have is that big juicy brain between your ears. Be smart about the methods used to control cockroaches in your home, and you’ll have quicker and longer-lasting results.

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