A few months ago we reported on the findings of the research on the effects that Total Release Foggers (TRF) had on bed bug infestations. The study was conducted by Dr. Susan Jones at Ohio State University. Her research focused on using three popular Total Release Foggers, otherwise known as bug bombs. The bug bombs are commonly used by consumers to kill a variety of pests, including bed bugs. Her test included bed bug subjects collected in the field as well as ones that were lab strains. The lab reared bed bugs are considered to be more susceptible to pesticides than those collected in the field. The results of the study that she conducted showed that both types of bed bugs were immune to the bug bombs. The news of bug bombs not working on bed bug infestations was surprising to consumers, but not surprising to pest control professionals across the United States.
According to Mike Merchant’s accounting of the November Entomological Society of America’s Annual Conference in Knoxville at “Insects in the City”, another study of TRF’s was conducted by Coby Schal of North Carolina State to research the effective rate of bug bombs for the control of cockroaches. Despite being commonly used by consumers, his research is the first test study for bug bombs versus cockroaches. According to reports, Schal used wild cockroaches as well as lab reared cockroaches in his test study. Two popular consumer bug bomb products were chosen to be tested. As with the lab reared bed bugs, lab reared cockroaches were more susceptible to death by the pyrethroid bug bombs. The interesting results were that the lab reared cockroaches did not stand a chance against the bug bomb, but the pesticide had no effect on the wild cockroaches. According to reports, his study showed that the wild cockroach population actually increased despite the pesticide application.
Many questions now remain because of this cockroach study as to why the wild cockroaches did not die.
Have the cockroaches become resistant to these common store bought pesticides? Cockroaches are known to be able to hold their breath for at least 40 minutes. Could cockroaches actually stop breathing for longer periods of time if they detect a strange odor? Were the cockroaches able to hide in a location where the pesticide was not able to reach?
Consumers unfortunately do not always follow the directions on the bug bomb that is provided by the manufacturer. Failure to follow the directions has resulted in serious illness, fires, and explosions when Total Release Foggers are used incorrectly. The big question is…If the TRF is ineffective, will the Environmental Protection Agency change its current guidelines?