How to Use and Not Use, Insect Foggers

Excessive use of insect foggers triggered an explosion at a Santa Ana home a few years ago, causing $125,000 in damage. Authorities said that more than 50 canisters were used. A stove pilot light probably ignited the petroleum base in the insecticide. Here are some tips for using foggers safely.

Before Fogging

* Read directions: Foggers differ according to manufacturer; follow directions for specific brand used.

* Determine square footage: Fogger use is based on room size; to figure square footage, multiply length of room times width.


* Don’t overdo it: Using more foggers than recommended is potentially hazardous; if insect infestation persists, repeat application is safer and more effective.

* Turn off pilot lights: Gas appliances have an open-flame pilot light. Turning off the appliance or blowing out pilot is not enough; turn shut-off valve to off position.

* In kitchen: Put all food, dishes and utensils in a covered area.

* Pets: Do not leave pets in house during fogging; remove all pet food, water and bowls.


* Children: Put all bedding, clothing and toys in covered area.

* Setting fogger: Follow package directions and leave house immediately; do not return before the specified time has passed.

After Fogging

* Airing out: Open windows and doors to admit fresh air. Fans help circulate fresh air more effectively. Air house for at least the amount of time specified on package.


* In kitchen: Wipe down tabletops and all food preparation surfaces with water and detergent.

* Pilot lights: Must be lit again according to directions. Do not allow large amounts of gas to escape before igniting. Gas company employees will light free of charge.

* Children and pets: Extra caution should be taken to wipe down surfaces and objects mouthed by infants and pets. Dead insects pose a particular fascination and should be disposed of.

Sources: Times reports, U.S. Postal Service, Humane Society of the United States