Cockroaches are a singularly common indoor pest in the U.S. and elsewhere. Not only are some people offended by the very sight of a cockroach, they can also be carriers of diseases and can contaminate foods and other surfaces in your home with excrement. There is an abundance of options available to the homeowner who wants to use a chemical pesticide to remove a cockroach infestation, all varying in their effectiveness. Foggers, for example, are commonly marketed as ways to remove a cockroach infestation but doubts hang over their effectiveness.
Total-release aerosol foggers, or "bombs" as they are sometimes called, differ from contact insecticides in that they are not applied directly to observed insects but rather to an entire home that is infested by insects. Foggers release all their pesticide content in one application. Typically, humans and pets will need to leave a house that is being fogged due to the high concentration of toxic pesticides that build up inside the home. The idea of a fogger is that when the pesticide chemicals settle on the ground, they will also settle on any insects in the home.
Foggers, Roaches and Eggs
Pest control experts and the University of Florida and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln agree that total-release foggers are the least effective of any of the cockroach control options available on the market. For starters, only the cockroaches that happen to be in an exposed area during the fogging will be affected. Cockroaches are excellent at hiding and generally prefer more secluded area to more exposed ones anyway. The usefulness of foggers is further compromised by the amount of toxic chemicals introduced into the air in your home in exchange for such a marginal pesticidal result.
For the same reasons discussed above, foggers offer minor at best lethality to cockroach eggs. While female German cockroaches carry egg capsules called oothecas with them until the eggs are ready to hatch, most other species of cockroaches deposit the egg capsules in a hidden location. It would only be in the case of a female German cockroach carrying her ootheca while moving through an exposed part of your home that a fogger pesticide could even potentially kill the eggs inside.
In general, contact insecticides are recommended for controlling roaches over foggers but contact insecticides generally do not harm roach eggs since they are encased inside the ootheca and thus protected from contacting any insecticide. Therefore if you suspect the cockroaches in your home are breeding, vacuum up any ootheca you find in your home and use natural control methods such as reducing the population of insects upon which the cockroaches feed, reducing sources of excess moisture and regularly cleaning dark, secluded areas of your home that roaches are likely to frequent.
Eoghan McCloskey is a technical support representative and part-time musician who holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and political science from Texas State University. While at Texas State, McCloskey worked as a writing tutor at the Texas State Writing Center, proofreading and editing everything from freshman book reports to graduate theses.