Don’t be fooled by bug bombs! These popular insecticide products might seem like an easy solution to your cockroach problem, but they’re actually quite ineffective. There are many reasons why using a roach bomb is not an effective way to kill cockroaches. In fact, it’s probably one of the worst pest control techniques available, and you can find out why below and what else you should do.
Written by: A O’Neill, Licensed Pest Management Professional
What are bug bombs?
Bug bombs are also known as Total release foggers (TRF), roach bombs, roach foggers, and insect bombs.
They are devices that release a fog or mist of pesticides into an enclosed area. The fog or mist is created when the TRF device is activated and leaves the device as aerosol droplets. These droplets kill insects in enclosed spaces, such as homes, offices, and warehouses.
Will bug bombs kill roaches?
A few roaches might be killed if they come into direct contact with the mist, but this won’t get rid of them all. The insecticides only settle on horizontal surfaces and not in cracks and crevices in the walls or underneath furniture and appliances where cockroaches hide.
The fogger is also likely to act as a repellant causing the roaches to scatter deeper into their harborages.
And, as roaches reproduce quickly, there will be lots of eggs waiting to hatch hidden in these tiny cracks and crevices that will soon replace any that were exposed to the bug bomb.
In short, bug bomb products have no real effect on the overall cockroach population in your home.
What are the main ingredients in insect foggers?
Aside from not reaching these hiding spots, the other reason these foggers are ineffective is that they don’t contain enough insecticide to get the job done. There is also the issue of the insecticides used.
Bug bombs you buy in your local store contain pyrethrin or pyrethroids, or both, which paralyze and kill insects. The list of insects that these products claim to kill includes cockroaches. But, as various studies show  and anyone who has tried these insecticide fogger products knows, this is not the case, especially where German cockroaches are concerned.
This type of roach is extremely resilient and has developed a very high resistance to many insecticides over time, including the ones found in over-the-counter TRFs.
This pest has a fast metabolism, enabling it to quickly break down and eliminate many toxins it comes into contact with. Additionally, cockroaches have a hardy exoskeleton that provides extra protection against insecticides.
What other drawbacks are there to using cockroach bombs?
Aside from being ineffective against roaches, and other pests such as bed bugs, these products can also be very dangerous if you don’t use them correctly. There are many reports every year about illness and injury from these devices.
If you’re using a bug bomb, you could end up with serious health problems. Tests carried out on several roach foggers showed that aside from being ineffective at killing roaches, these roach bombs have been found to “deposit significant amounts of insecticide residues on all horizontal kitchen surfaces. Of the 32 combinations of insecticide by swab location on horizontal surfaces (e.g. permethrin on the kitchen counter, etc.), 84% had significant increases in residues 4–6 hours after the TRF was discharged. After one month, 34% had significantly higher residues relative to baseline levels (50% had moderate increases).” 
There are many ways that cockroaches are bad for your health directly and indirectly, and exposure to bug bombs is one of them that may cause you, any children, or pets, health issues if the chemicals released are breathed in. This can include respiratory and stomach issues.
They also contain other ingredients, such as aerosol propellants that project the insecticides out. These propellants are often flammable and can cause fires in the home or explosions if not used properly.
What would work better against cockroaches?
The best way to kill this pest is to clean your home, use roach baits, sticky traps, and roach killer powder or boric acid, and seal up their entry points.
Take a look at my guide on the best way to get rid of cockroaches without an exterminator, which details what you need to do and how to do it.
Overall, bug bombs can work great for killing insects like flies and mosquitoes, but they do not work against cockroaches. They are a waste of money and can be dangerous.
If you’re dealing with an infestation of these pests, you might feel like you’re up against an impossible fight. But you don’t have to be. There are ways you can handle the situation, either by yourself or by calling in a professional pest control service. Before you contact a company, make sure you read how to choose the right pest control company so you know how to find a reputable one.