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Can You Bug Bomb One Room and Stay in the House?

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Author Icon Written by Brenda Woods Updated 04/16/2024

You cannot bug bomb one room and stay in your house. You would seriously risk your health over a minor inconvenience. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers guidelines for using bug bombs, and they specify that breathing any airborne pesticide can be harmful.

In this article, we explain what a bug bomb is and why you should leave your house while using one. We’ll discuss other safety precautions you should take when using this pest control method and identify when you should contact a professional pest control company for help.


What Is a Bug Bomb?

A bug bomb, also known as a total release fogger, is a pesticide product that contains aerosol propellants and insecticides. Once set, they release a fine mist of pesticide in all directions, killing insects that come into contact with it. This pest control method is commonly used to kill fleas, bed bugs, cockroaches, and other insects in large areas or single rooms of your home.

However, these foggers aren’t effective against all insects, especially if they hide in cracks or crevices. The spray often won’t penetrate into the hidden spots where insects lay their eggs, and it doesn’t prevent pests from accessing food and water sources. According to the EPA, bug bombs shouldn’t be used as your only method of pest control, as they often don’t treat the underlying problems. They can be useful tools, but they rarely eliminate an infestation on their own.


Should I Stay in My House While Using a Bug Bomb?

This Old House Tip
While it may seem reasonable to stay in a different room of your house while using a bug bomb, we don’t recommend taking this action. If the insecticides from the bomb seep into the room you’re in, you could experience asthma, conjunctivitis, contact dermatitis, upper respiratory irritation, gastrointestinal problems, and other serious health conditions.

The EPA recommends leaving your home for the duration of time indicated on the label of your bug bomb. On average, people and pets should stay out of the home for two to four hours. No room in your house is completely airtight, and dangerous fumes from a bug bomb, even in a closed room, can seep into other areas of the house. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions written on the label or the box.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked bug bomb-related illnesses across 10 states for eight years. Researchers found 3,222 cases of illness, most often caused by failure to vacate the premises or re-entering the premises too early. The most severe cases of illness were linked to failure to vacate or using too many bug bombs for the space. Cough, upper respiratory irritation and pain, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping were the most common symptoms. Most cases were mild, but four during that time were fatal.


Safety Precautions to Consider When Using a Bug Bomb

Bug bombs can cause health problems when inhaled, and they’re also flammable. In addition to vacating your home during treatment, there are a few other safety precautions you should take:

The label on your product will give you important safety precautions and instructions on how to safely and effectively use it.

Removing toys, plants, clothes, and uncovered food from the area you’re going to treat helps prevent the bug bomb from contaminating these items.

If you’re treating just one area of your home, close any doors that lead into the space. This won’t seal off the room completely, but it will limit the number of surfaces that come in contact with the pesticide.

Read the label on your bug bomb to determine how much of the product you should release into your home. Typically, a 6-ounce fogger can treat a space of up to 25 feet by 25 feet. Releasing too much product or using more than one bug bomb per room can lead to a buildup of flammable vapors or cause illness. It won’t be any more effective at killing bugs than if you followed the directions.

Using a bug bomb in small, enclosed spaces like closets and cabinets can cause the product to explode.

You should always keep bug bombs at least six feet away from gas or electrical appliances, like your refrigerator or air conditioner, so that they don’t accidentally explode and start a fire.

If you use a bug bomb while a family member or roommate is away, notify them not to enter your home by texting them, calling them, and placing a visible note on the front door.

When you return to your house, open your doors and windows so that any remaining fumes are safely ventilated. You can also place fans in doorways and on windows to air out the space.


Best Pest Control Companies

Bug bombs can be useful in killing some pests, but they don’t penetrate small cracks and crevices or prevent future pests from invading your home. For a more integrated pest management approach, consider hiring a professional pest control company to target the infestation.

To save our readers time, we’ve examined dozens of major pest control providers in the United States, comparing factors like cost and plan details, and compiled a list of the best pest control companies.

We recommend getting a free quote from the companies listed below to determine which pest control service is right for you.

Provider

Terminix

Orkin

Get a free quote

Visit Site

Visit Site

Our overall score out of 100

98.5

94

Best for

Best Overall

Best for Urgent Service

Annual cost for general pest control

$550–$700

$575

State availability

47

49

BBB rating

A

A+

Online chat

Yes

No


Frequently Asked Questions About Bug Bombs

How long should you stay out of the house after using a bug bomb?

Read the label on your product to see how long you vacate the house. Typically, you should stay out of your house for two to four hours.

 

Do I have to wash everything after using a bug bomb?

Read the instructions on your bug bomb for cleaning instructions after using the product, and move valuable or delicate items to another room. Consider washing your clothes and gently cleaning any fabrics or furniture that came into contact with the gases released by the bomb.

Can you bug bomb your apartment?

Yes, you can bug bomb an apartment, but check with your landlord to ensure this treatment is allowed.

Can you set off a flea bomb with cats in the house?

No, the insecticides in a flea bomb are harmful to cats and other pets, so remove them from your home before setting off the device.

Do I need to wash my clothes after a flea bomb?

Yes, you should wash any clothes that came into contact with the gases released from the flea bomb.


Our Rating Methodology

We back up our pest control recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review pest control plans, navigate the provider website, speak with customer service representatives by phone and online chat (if available), request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plans and services, reputation and customer responses, customer service offerings, workmanship guarantees, financing, and availability to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

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