You've had it up to here with roaches, ants, or other unwanted critters, and it's time to take action. So, you stop at a store to pick up a fumigator, such as the popular Raid Fumigator, and now you're ready to do battle. Not so fast! Fumigators, also known as bug foggers or roach bombs, fill a room while seeping into cracks and even carpet fibers, making them powerful weapons in the war on pests. However, the active ingredient in most fumigators is permethrin, a highly toxic chemical that is poisonous to pets, plants, and humans. To use fumigators safely, always follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. The standard basic precautions are outlined here.
Use One Fumigator Per Room
Pest fumigators contain powerful chemicals and are extremely pressurized, so you should use only one per room. In addition, don't use a fumigator in small, enclosed spaces, such as in a cabinet or under a counter or table. After setting off the fumigator in each room, keep doors and windows closed during fumigation. This will help ensure safety and efficacy.
Keep Your Pets Safe
Before setting off the fumigator, remove all pets, including birds, from your home. Arrange to board your pets at a friend's or neighbor's, or ask your vet about daily boarding services. If you have an aquarium, it's best to remove it from the home, but if this is difficult, you can turn off the pump and cover the aquarium fully with a suitable material to keep your fish safe. Ask the fogger manufacturer for the recommended type of cover. Paper, cardboard, fabric, and many plastics can be penetrated by fogger chemicals.
Turn off Appliances
Since fumigators can be flammable, anything that could create a spark can create a dangerous situation in your home.
- Turn off all ignition sources, such as gas pilot lights and other open flames.
- Turn off all electrical appliances that cycle on and off (such as refrigerators and thermostats).
- Turn off fans and air-conditioners.
- Cover stereos, computers, and all electronic devices to prevent damage.
- Temporarily disable smoke alarms.
Cover Food, Dishes, and Food Surfaces
Cover or remove all foods and food containers in the area, including packaged foods in cupboards, refrigerators, and freezers. Cover or remove all cooking pans and utensils. Cover countertops and cooking appliances. Cover all dishes and utensils, or plan to wash them thoroughly before using them after the fumigation.
Plan to Stay out of Your Apartment
After you set off the fumigators, leave your apartment for at least three hours before re-entering. When you get home, open all of the windows in your home and leave them open for at least 30 minutes while you vacate the area. If any of the fogger smell remains after 30 minutes, continue to ventilate until the smell is gone. Do not let pets or children into the treated area until the ventilation is complete and there is no residual smell of the fogger.
Post a warning at each entry door to prevent anyone from entering the home during fumigation. Fumigators typically are sold with door hangers for posting on doorknobs and include a place to write the date and the time when it is safe to enter the home.
Be sure to check your fumigator's label for additional or more restrictive precautions than those listed above. If you rent your home, it is always a good idea to speak with your landlord if you are experiencing a pest problem in your apartment. Your landlord may want to hire an exterminator or may have another preferred method for pest removal. Plus, they may want to find the source of the infestation and alert neighbors.