Easy? or Effective?

Many homeowners with pest problems and limited budgets turn to do-it-yourself products. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not understand how to use products effectively, are confused by the instructions (or don’t read them) and want to spend as little time as possible. They want the pest problem resolved quickly, no fuss, no muss.

Home foggers are marketed as an easy solution to controlling household pests. Take can from box. Open can. Leave house for a few hours. Return and open the windows. What could be simpler? However, those who take time to read the directions will learn that many foggers contain flammable vapors that could ignite if in contact with a pilot light or other ignition source. People have actually blown up their houses through product misuse. So before use, the homeowner should turn off all pilot lights and not relight them until the fumigation is complete and the house is aired.

Further reading will suggest that inside drawers, under furniture and in cracks and crevices are where pests are likely to harbor. The foggers suspend droplets of pesticide in the air, and the droplets settle over the contents of the room. The fogger droplets do not penetrate closed drawers. So the homeowner may find that the treatment is not very effective. What originally seems like an easy choice is much more complicated than the homeowner anticipates. Some homeowners respond to poor results from fogger use by increasing the numbers of foggers deployed. This is not a good idea and can be dangerous.

Michael Potter of the University of Kentucky has a useful critique of the fogger products. Someone looking for a home pest control product can find useful advice and important questions to consider.

Our current political climate is becoming more anti-regulatory with businesses allowed to make their own rules and consumers are “On their own” and must operate under “Buyer Beware”. Just because a product is marketed or has obtained EPA registration does not mean that it is effective. Most products must only demonstrate safety, not efficacy. Unwitting homeowners spend a lot of money on do-it-yourself products with less than satisfactory results. In the end the pest problems may continue and the homeowner must either live with the pest problem or hire professionals who are trained to solve pest problems.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Pest Management, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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