Do Bed Bug Foggers Work? NO!

When I first got bed bugs, one friend suggested: “Fog the s*** out of your apartment!”   It’s what many people think to do when they get any sort of pest problem.  But as far as bed bugs go, it is very bad advice.

Study Shows Foggers to be Ineffective

Entomologists Susan C. Jones and Joshua L. Bryant at Ohio State University conducted experiments and showed that common indoor insecticide foggers (also called “bug bombs”) are nearly completely ineffective against bed bugs.

It’s particularly disturbing because some of these foggers are specifically labeled for bed bug use.  An article about the research is here.  And the full study can be found here.

3 Common Bed Bug Foggers (That Don’t Work)

The 3 common foggers that were proven ineffective are:

  • Hot Shot Bedbug and Flea Fogger
  • Spectracide Bug Stop Indoor Fogger
  • Eliminator Indoor Fogger  

Foggers Are Ineffective for 2 Reasons

The study explains that the foggers don’t work for two reasons:

1.  Bed bugs out in the real world have developed resistance to a class of pesticides called pyrethroids which these foggers use. (We go into a lot of detail about pyrethroids here.)

2.  In the real world, bed bugs tend to hide in cracks and crevices and so are not directly exposed much to the insecticide. In addition, the foggers do not penetrate effectively into the bed bugs’ hiding places.

Hot Shot Fogger vs. Hot Shot No-Pest Strips

It’s particularly disappointing to us that Hot Shot is specifically labeling their fogger for use with bed bugs which is very misleading.

They also make the Hot Shot No-Pest Strips which we do recommend for use with ridding bed bugs from upholstered furniture (though you have to use the Strips in conjunction with furniture bags—click here for the full technique.)  The Hot Shot No-Pest Strips (as opposed to the Hot Shot Fogger) use a non-pyrethroid pesticide called DDVP, which is more effective.

The Proper Use of Pesticides

Certain pesticides can be helpful in the war against bed bugs, but it’s very important to realize that no matter how effective any particular pesticide is, it will never be a magic bullet. You must take additional steps.  For a full discussion on the pros and cons of pesticide use, as well as some suggested pesticides that have proven to be effective, see Step 7 of our 8-Step Approach.


Posted by Andrew Havlis