Does Bombing a House for Roaches Work?

Cockroaches are common indoor pests. Their appearance is offensive to many homeowners, but there are more important reasons to remove a cockroach infestation. Cockroaches can transmit diseases on their bodies and in their feces. Indoor cockroach infestations are also now thought to be one of the leading causes of allergies. There are numerous options available to the homeowner who wishes to use a pesticide as a control method. Total-release fogger aerosols, sometimes called "bombs," are among these choices, but their effectiveness is an important question to the concerned homeowner.

Fogger "bomb" pesticides are marketed for roach control, but they may not be as effective as other types of pesticides.

Pesticides and Roaches

To approach the question of the effectiveness of bomb foggers, it is necessary to first look at the general effectiveness of pesticides on roaches. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, controlling cockroach infestations was almost exclusively done by way of chemical pesticides until recently, when "the development of multi-chemical resistance" to pesticides among roaches was more deeply understood by scientists. Coinciding with this increased resistance was an increased awareness among humans of the health and environmental effects of using pesticides. These two factors have led to the development of new kinds of pesticides and to a rising popularity of non-chemical roach-control methods among homeowners.


If you go to a store in search of a chemical pesticide, chances are good that you will see a total-release aerosol fogger or "bomb" labeled for cockroach control. The University of Florida IFAS Extension does not recommend using these. since their effect is limited to the cockroaches that come into direct contact with the fog. The bombs shoot pesticides into the air; the pesticides then settle over the various surfaces in your home. Anyone who has encountered cockroaches knows how good they are at hiding, so any cockroach that can hide from the pesticide residue will be unaffected by it.

More Effective Pesticide Options

Setting bombs aside, the question then becomes, "What pesticides should I use?" In general, there are three styles of pesticides commonly used on cockroaches. Baits tempt roaches into eating lethal pesticide chemicals and are very effective at limiting cockroach populations. Contact spray insecticide applied directly to roaches and dust insecticides are also very effective. A relatively new class of insecticide chemicals called insect growth regulators (IGRs) don't kill insects upon contact but rather aim to reduce insect populations over the long term by interfering with the insects' ability to reproduce.

Preventive Measures

If you wish to avoid the risks inherent in pesticides altogether, preventive measures are supremely effective. Roaches travel inside in pursuit of a food source, a water source or shelter, or any combination thereof. Eliminating the populations of insects that serve as a food source for roaches inside the home, cleaning dark, secluded areas that roaches tend to frequent and eliminating sources of excess moisture that draw cockroaches inside in the first place will go a long way in preventing an infestation, and thus will prevent your need to ever use any kind of pesticide inside the home.