A study out of North Carolina University has found bug bombs to not only be ineffective at killing roaches, but actually put humans at risk of unnecessary pesticide exposure.
The critters appeared to be resilient to total release foggers (TRF’s) while residue from these bug bombs were found coating kitchen surfaces.
Of the 20 homes tested, none of the cockroaches, Blattella germanica, known as the German cockroach, were affected by the foggers.
Swabs taken of the floor and countertops, however, found 600 fold increases of the insecticide within hours of the foggers’ detonations. And one month later, levels of the pesticide were still 34% higher than baseline levels prior to detonation.
In the University’s news release, it states:
“All the fogger products contained pyrethroids, a class of fast-acting insecticides, and some contained piperonyl butoxide, a chemical that prevents roaches from metabolizing, or breaking down, the insecticide,” said Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor of Entomology at NC State and senior author of the paper.
Pyrethroids have been found to, in animal studies, affect reproduction and cause cancer. In small amounts they pose little human risk, but at moderate amounts could cause dizziness, headache, nausea and at high amounts could cause muscle twitching, convulsions and loss of consciousness, per the CDC.
They further report:
“Bug bombs are not killing cockroaches; they’re putting pesticides in places where the cockroaches aren’t; they’re not putting pesticides in places where cockroaches are and they’re increasing pesticide levels in the home,” DeVries said. “In a cost-benefit analysis, you’re getting all costs and no benefits.”
Some safer alternatives to killing roaches may include using lemon juice, soapy water spray, or a mixture of baking soda and sugar.
Keeping them at bay could be done by diligent cleaning, sealing up cracks and holes, fixing leaks and using bay leaves at entry points.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.