Fumigation foggers, also called bug bombs or total release foggers, release a cloud of insecticide all at once to kill any insects in the home, such as cockroaches or ants. While these foggers work well for ridding your home of unwanted pests, the chemicals can also kill houseplants if you leave them in the room.
What Is A Fumigation Fogger?
Many insecticide sprays come in aerosol cans with a spray nozzle for short sprays in a small area, but foggers are designed to fill an entire room so the fog of insecticide is sure to affect plants. Small drops of insecticide can collect on furniture and on plant leaves as the mist falls from the air. Foggers can be used in a room within a house or in a greenhouse if pests become problematic. These bug bombs use a combination of synthetic pyrethroid insecticide chemicals and synergists, which are designed to boost the power of the pyrethrins. While bug bomb foggers are a type of fumigation, it doesn't use chemicals as strong as those used by professional fumigators.
The chemicals released by foggers make the air in the room highly toxic. Just as all people and pets should leave the room for several hours after engaging the fogger, plants should be removed so they are not affected by the poor air quality. Keep the plants away from the treated room for several hours or the amount of time indicated on the specific product's packaging. Choose a new location that closely matches the environment of the plant in its original location. If the plant is typically kept in a sunny spot in a 75 degree Fahrenheit room, relocate the plant to a sunny spot in another room at about the same temperature to limit the stress on the plant. A climate-controlled garage or basement works well if no other suitable spot is available.
Plants respond best to relocation when they receive as little stress as possible. You can reduce stress by ensuring all plants are well watered the night before moving them. If any plants have long leaves that could be easily broken, tie them up with loose twine to avoid bumping them while in transport. If you must transport the plants to a new location in a vehicle, place moving blankets or a similar form of support between plants to keep them from tipping over while in transit. Baskets and boxes work well for corralling smaller potted plants so you can carry them easily and they don't fall over in the car.
The Air is Clear
Fogger products generally require only a few hours before it is safe to move people, pets and plants back in the room. After the required time indicated on the plant label, go into the room and open all windows for ventilation. A box fan facing outward in a windowsill makes ventilation even faster. Your sense of smell is the best way to determine if it's safe to use the room. If you detect any trace of chemical smell in the room, it's best to continue airing out the space before you move the plants inside. When the lingering smell dissipates, move the plants back into the room in their original positions. Plants might show signs of stress such as wilting leaves as a result of the move, but they should acclimate to the room fairly quickly.
- University of Kentucky Extension: Insecticide Overview
- University of Kentucky Extension: Fumigation Training Manual
- Oregon State University Environmental Health: Pesticides and Alternatives to Pest Control
- Michigan State University Extension: Selection and Use of Household Insecticides,If Needed
- Environmental Protection Agency: Safety Precautions for Total Release Foggers
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