A mosquito fogger is a product that sprays insecticides into the surrounding air in the form of a mist or fog, killing or repelling mosquitoes and other unwanted insects (spiders, fruit flies etc). One question to be asked is: can you spray mosquito fogger in your wine cellar? In this post, we explore that very question.

First a word about mosquito foggers. How do they work? Generally speaking, there are two different types. Heat foggers use the heat produced by electrical reaction or burning of propane gas to create tiny drops of liquid that are sprinkled into their surroundings. ‘Cold foggers’, meanwhile, are powered solely by electricity, which operates ventilators that separate a chemical fluid into small particles that are sprayed into their surroundings as a ‘fog’. In both cases, the fog or mist contains an ingredient that repels or kills mosquitoes and other bugs, similar to the mosquito repellants you apply to your skin.

Why would you want to use a fogger in your wine cellar? Well, you probably know from experience that this part of your house always tends to get a nice infestation of insects around summer time – not least due to the spilled alcohol there! – and is thus the entry point for mosquitoes and other pests looking to penetrate your house. So you’d think it would be a good place to place a fogger. Think again! There are several reasons to think you shouldn’t use foggers in your wine cellar:

First, the ingredient in the fogger fluid that repels the mosquitoes is in many cases a substance called pyrethrine, which quite apart from its effect on insects can cause an allergic reaction in humans also – especially those with respiratory problems like asthma sufferers. That is why it is unwise to use foggers using pyrethrin in areas where people live, work, eat etc. They are generally safe only for outdoors usage. A garage is also an option provided it is large and well ventilated. Be sure to look at the instructions that come with your product; in most cases the directions for use accompanying your fogger will actually specify to keep it away from pets and humans, and that it is unwise to allow the fogger fluid to settle on counter tops, exposed food etc – if it does, these are to be covered and/or cleaned before re-use. Thus the problem with using foggers in your cellar is that if you keep wine bottles down there, there is a risk that the pesticide will coat the caps, corks etc, and even penetrate into the wine itself – making your stock undrinkable.

Second, there are doubts about whether foggers are even effective when used indoors. This is because if you set them up so that they simply spray their contents into the air, the pesticide tends to settle on the surface of furniture, the floor etc. Very little penetrates into cracks, holes, nooks, hard to reach areas etc – which is where the bugs actually congregate! The insect repellant can actually cause the insects to move deeper into those hard to reach locations, in which case using foggers is in fact counterproductive. In fact, mosquito foggers could well be one of the worst ways of waging a ‘bug war’. In most cases, a fly swatter, good vacuum or door sweep is a better option.

Finally, the ingredients in mosquito foggers may also be flammable when used – or even just stored – near fire and open flame. If your cellar contains your home’s pilot light, beware! Again, check the instructions and directions for safe use on your product. But in my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is yet another good reason to steer clear of insect fogger and misters in your wine cellar.