Bug bomb safety

I’m out of town for a couple of weeks. I mentioned this to my landlady and she said that she wanted to use this opportunity to set off a bug bomb in the house. I asked her if I needed to make any preparations for this and she said no.

Is she right? I don’t have food out in the open but I do have food in cabinets. Is that going to be okay to eat? What about other stuff around my house? How much clean-up do I have to do to make things safe to use?

If your landlady said their were no preparations, do not trust her.

The one absolutely essential preparation for every bug bomb I have ever seen is that you **MUST **remove all sources of ignition. That means no pilot lights and no electrical equipment that is going to cycle while the house is sealed such as video recorders on timers, monitors or TVs with automatic standby or thermostats. Failure to do so may result in your house catching fire or, at the worst, literally exploding. The risk of it happening during normal use is low; there are only acouple of case of fires or explosions caused by on-label usage of bug bombs worldwide ever year. However since the damage caused is catastrophic you would be an idiot to take the chance.

There may be non-flammable bug bombs on the market, but i have never heard of them.

The food may also be a problem. Every direction label I have seen says quote clearly says that all food and all preparation utensils must be covered during use. The bombs produce a fine mist of insecticide that diffuses throughout the building. That’s how they work. You don’t really want it settling on your knives and forks, much less onto the food itself.

The simplest way to deal with this is to ask your landlady to tell you the name of the product she intends to use, then download the directions for use. They will tell you what precautions are needed.

Do not trust an amateur with poisons. Thankfully most insecticides these days are fairly harmless in their own rights. However they can produce some very unpleasant effects if thy are applied improperly or if they mix with other insecticides already present in your food.

Mythbusters covered this (bug-bombs exploding) a few years ago…

This isn’t completely reassuring. However, my landlady has said she’s hiring a professional for this job so hopefully he’ll follow all safety procedures.

I’m wondering how much it penetrates. Should I worry about food in cardboard boxes? Plastic bags?