What Do I Need to Cover a House for Foggers?

Foggers, or bug bombs, release concentrated bursts of pesticides designed to kill fleas, ticks, spiders, ants and various other bugs throughout your home. The toxic nature of these chemicals requires that you cover certain areas in your home to protect them -- and your family -- from any adverse effects.

Living room with fireplace
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Always read the packaging instructions before using a fogger in your home.

Covering Basics

When it comes to using foggers, you need to cover items in your home but not the actual house itself. Do not block off windows, doors, vents or other air passageways, though do keep them closed for the duration recommended by the fogger manufacturer. Once this period of time has elapsed, open up all the doors and windows to allow the pesticide to dissipate throughout your home. As far as covering goes, you need to cover exposed surfaces or items inside, with a focus on the kitchen area. Remove all people, pets and plants from the house while the foggers are released and do not return until the recommended time stated on the packaging.

What to Cover

Put opened food in the refrigerator, along with any dry goods if the cabinets will be open. Put away toothbrushes and drinking cups in the medicine cabinet and cover other bathroom items, such as combs, soap, razors and other personal grooming implements. Cover any surface from which you eat or prepare food, including counters, tables, exposed cutting boards and the stove. A fact sheet on foggers from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture recommends also covering all bedding, toys, pet food dishes and exposed surfaces that pesticides may settle on, such as furniture or changing tables. Cover anything you, your children or your pets may potentially put in the mouth. Black Flag, a fogger manufacturer, also recommends covering waxed floors because the wax floor coating can trap pesticides.

How to Cover

You can use various methods and materials to cover items in your home before you set off the foggers. Black Flag recommends covering surfaces, such as floors and counters, with multiple layers of newspaper or paper towels -- material you can easily discard after use. You can also use plastic sheeting and tarps, as long as you wipe them down thoroughly after use. Avoid using blankets and sheets that come into regular contact with your skin. The tighter you secure the covering, the better protection it provides -- you can use masking or painter's tape for this.

Fogger Use

Set all the foggers you need in place -- one per room or area -- before beginning the fogging process, to avoid exposure to pesticides. Make sure each fogger is set on a solid, flat surface covered by newspaper. Collect everything you need before you leave the house, including your keys, wallet and anything else, in one place for easy access once you let off the bug bombs. Start in the room furthest away from the front door. Press down on the fogger tab with the nozzle pointed away from you then set it down and leave. Go from room to room and close up each door behind you. Always use foggers exactly as instructed by the manufacturer and follow all safety instructions.

Warnings and Safety Information

According to the authors of the book "Public Health Significance of Urban Pests," foggers don't distribute pesticides to low-lying areas, such as under furniture, where insects typically lay eggs. Furthermore, foggers rarely penetrate the cracks and crevices of your home that insects retreat into when the fogging begins. In order to kill insects in these areas, you must place foggers directly against them. Foggers also contain flammable chemicals. According to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, bug bombs are responsible for 500 explosions or fires annually in the United States. Always turn off the gas supply to appliances, such as stoves and boilers, before using foggers and never use more than the recommended number of foggers in a single space to avoid a buildup of explosive gases. Do not use foggers if you or someone in your family has respiratory problems.