What Is a Flea Bomb?

Christian Petersen
Christian Petersen
A flea.
A flea.

A flea bomb is a type of pest control device designed specifically for controlling indoor flea infestations. The term flea bomb is a broad term that encompasses any one of a number of similar devices, all of which are pressurized canisters of some type that, when triggered, disperse a pesticide tailored to kill fleas. These devices, also known as foggers, use a propellant and some type of dispersion nozzle to disperse the aerosol poison to all areas of an enclosed space.

Flea bites on a dog will create discomfort and pain.
Flea bites on a dog will create discomfort and pain.

Fleas are by far the most common pest associated with ownership of the world's most common house pets: cats and dogs. Infested animals can quickly spread the infestation to the home, and flea bombs are often part of a comprehensive plan to eliminate them. When used alone, they can help to eliminate live fleas from a living area but will not control the fleas on the pets themselves.

A typical fogger is designed to be placed on the floor in the center of a room and then activated. Different brands of flea bomb or fogger will treat varying amounts of space, and the label should be consulted for this information. When activated, a flea bomb releases a pressurized spray of an aerosol pesticide that quickly fills an enclosed space, contacting any exposed surface and penetrating many areas that would be difficult or impossible to reach by other means. This process usually takes several minutes.

The poisons used in flea bombs can be dangerous, and the fog should not be inhaled. Several poisons are common in flea bombs, but depending on the country, certain poisons may be prohibited by law. Many flea bombs contain only poisons that will kill adult fleas but do nothing to control live eggs or larva. A good flea bomb will contain an ingredient called an insect growth inhibitor (IGR), a chemical that prevents juvenile fleas from maturing, breaking the reproduction cycle and preventing re-infestation.

While these devices are an effective part of a comprehensive plan for controlling fleas, they have drawbacks. The area being treated must be vacated during the process and often for several hours thereafter. The chemicals can be harmful to other pets, like fish or reptiles. Generally, exposed surfaces where food is prepared or stored will need to be cleaned after the flea bomb is activated. Each type of flea bomb will have specific instructions for its use, and these should be followed carefully.

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Discussion Comments


I don't think fleas would be so aggravating if I could actually see them. At least with a mosquito I can see what is biting me and I know why I have all those red marks on me. Have you ever tried to catch a flea? They jump over a foot in distance in one leap and they can jump several inches high. This and the fact that they are so small make it almost impossible to kill one with your hands.


@Feryll - I have used flea traps, too. If anyone is considering using them they should know that you need to squeeze a dab of dish liquid in the water so the fleas will get trapped. I think the reason the traps work is because fleas are attracted to light. It's interesting to see the dead fleas collecting in the water, but I don't think flea traps would ever get rid of a flea infestation.

You need something stronger and something that will attack the fleas wherever they are rather than having to wait for them to find the traps.


I've never used a flea bomb, but I have used flea traps. As kids we used to make flea traps by hanging a flashlight over a bowl of water. My grandfather told me how to set up the trap. I don't know why it worked, but we would leave the trap overnight, and when we checked it in the morning there would be fleas in the water.

I think a trap like this would be safer than releasing a flea bomb, but a flea bomb might work better.

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    • A flea.
      By: Carolina K Smith MD
      A flea.
    • Flea bites on a dog will create discomfort and pain.
      By: absolutimages
      Flea bites on a dog will create discomfort and pain.