Where You Should and Should Not Use a Propane Fogger

The are some areas you should use a propane insect fogger and others where you must not. Propane foggers are thermal devices that use heat to vaporize an insecticide from its liquid state to spray it out as a fog. In order to vaporize, an insecticide fogger must heat the liquid to a high temperature. For that reason, some fire safety cautions must be taken into account before using a heated fogger. There are also different insecticides specified for different pest or insects and these formulas may contain toxic substances that may not be good for humans, animals, or other insects that may actually be useful to have in your garden. Each fogger and insecticide comes with a user’s manual which contains important information about the areas in which you can and cannot fog and how much fogging must be done with each insecticide in order for it to be effective. In this article, I will lay down some of the more common practices as well as which areas can be fogged and which areas must not be fogged with a propane fogger.

Where to use a propane fogger

It is practically always safe to use a propane fogger outdoors. But, you do not want to waste an expensive insecticide by spraying it all over your backyard in areas where mosquitoes do not reside. It is important to note all of the areas around your house or yard where mosquitoes might be living. Look for dark and humid areas with standing water. Those are the places where female mosquitoes lay their eggs and the majority of mosquitoes will reside in such areas during the daytime. Some of these places may include, but are not limited to:

  • Vegetation (shrubbery, trees, grass, etc.)
  • Metal cans and barrels filled with water
  • Clogged rain gutters and pools non-chlorinated water
  • Swamps, ponds, ditches, and other natural areas with standing water

After inspecting and identifying these areas, it is time to start taking action to eliminate those blood-sucking insects. But, there are a few things you should know before you start to fog everything you can find.

First of all, you need to choose and purchase an insecticide. Look for an insecticide that meets all of your requirements. For example, if you have a mosquito problem, search for an insecticide that is intended to control mosquitoes. If you have a wasp problem, look for an insecticide that will be effective on wasps. You want to be as specific as possible to eliminate the majority of the insects that are problematic to your space, so the appropriate insecticide is a must for successful insect control.

Now that you have an idea where your mosquitoes live and you have filled your propane fogger with the perfect insecticide for your needs, the next thing you need to know is where that fog needs to be applied and how to do so.

Fogging near house

Yusnizam Yusof/Shutterstock.com

The insecticide fog needs to applied directly to the areas where mosquitoes are living. Targeted fogging will be much more effective and will kill more mosquitoes than simply fogging random spots around the yard or house would be. This means fogging such areas as shrubbery, trees, plants, and the smaller gaps around and below buildings as well as other similar areas around your house. One thing you should note is that there are two types of foggers and repellents: wet and dry. Using a wet fogger directly on vegetation is not recommended as it can leave a greasy residue which may harm plants. On the other hand, dry foggers can be applied directly to vegetation so they are considered more effective at treating mosquito problems. This is why it is important to read the usage instructions for both your fogger and insecticide before using them.

While fogging you need to apply the fog:

  • On the upper surface and undersides of the leaves of plants.
  • Inside of shrubbery as this is one of the most common places for mosquitoes to reside during the day.
  • Around trees, focusing more on tree tops that are covered with leaves. This is the area where a fogger can be more effective than other applications of insect repellents due to the difficulty of reaching the tops of tall trees where the majority of mosquitoes reside in the daytime.
  • In tall grasses and smaller bushes.
  • In dark or wet areas around the house and yard where mosquitoes like to live and reproduce.

Precautions to keep in mind when using a propane fogger

The following are some precautions you need to know before fogging in certain areas.

Keep a safe distance from the area you are fogging.

Keep a distance of approximately 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8 meters) from the area you are fogging to allow the insecticide particles to land upon the target surface. This will ensure that the fog does not get blown in any uncontrolled direction in the case of a sudden breeze or bout of wind. Approximately 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8 meters) is the recommended distance for safe and effective fogging.

Make sure the fogged area is well-ventilated and does not contain any flammable materials.

It is forbidden to use propane foggers indoors. If you need to fog an open area under a roof, a patio, or any similar place, make sure that it is well ventilated. Also, remove any materials that could catch fire easily as propane foggers operate using a high amount of heat and can sometimes spit out small balls of flame which could set flammable materials on fire.

Where NOT to use a propane fogger

There are certain areas where you must not use a propane fogger in as they can be dangerous for both living beings and the environment. Here are few of the areas you must avoid when fogging.

Do not use a propane fogger in an indoor area.

It is dangerous to use a propane fogger in any indoor area as it may pose a serious fire safety threat. A propane fogger works with propane gas which heats the coil to a very high temperature. Propane foggers work using an open flame which makes them dangerous to use indoors, especially when there can be highly flammable materials around the house. You could also accidentally touch something with the tip of the fogger which is heated to an extremely high temperature and could immediately set any flammable material on fire.

Do not use a fogger near food or trays of food.

Never use a fogger in areas near uncovered food or trays of food. The insecticides used in foggers generally contain toxic substances that can be harmful to humans if eaten, even in very small doses.

Do not use a wet fogger directly on vegetation.

Avoid fogging vegetation directly with a wet fogger as the insecticide can damage plants. Make sure to remain at a distance and fog in the direction of the vegetation, not directly on it.

Do not fog in areas where children or pets are present.

Keep the fogging area clear of children as well as pets. The fog, which includes insecticides, may be dangerous if inhaled, especially for children and pets. Make sure that the area remains child and pet free before starting to fog and a few hours afterward as well. The amount of time before the area will be safe to re-enter must be indicated on the bottle of insecticide. This will depend on the type of insecticide and the area fogged, but, usually, it will be safe to go into the fogged area after a few hours.

Karen

Main editor

Expert in mosquito control and the main website editor at InsectCop.net. Karen started InsectCop to help people get rid of mosquitoes. But now she gives advice an all things pest control.

10 Comments

JC

Can I use a Burgess Outdoor Fogger to spray inside my attic vents from the outside? trying to get rid of a stink bug infestation. There is no chance of anything catching fire

    Karen

    I believe you can, just make sure that the insecticide you are using with the fogger is safe to be applied indoors or to areas like attic vents and so on.

mitch andrus

will insect foggers harm lizards, frogs and geckos?

    Karen

    It will depend on what fogging liquid (insecticide) you use with your fogger.

Brian

Can I use a tick spray, such as permethrin, in a propane fogger. I want to kill/prevent ticks?

    Karen

    You shouldn’t use regular tick repellent in a propane fogger. There are liquid solutions that are designed for getting rid of ticks and to be used in a thermal fogger, like ExciteR and other products on our best insecticides for foggers article.

pmh

Can I use a fogger to spray the top of my linden tree for Japanese beatles and what type of insecticide can I use.

    Karen

    It depends on how tall your linden tree is. Most home use propane foggers only produce fog that’s about 10 feet tall, so using a fogger might not be your best option here. I would better recommend you using either the Bayer Advanced Landscape Concentrate (that you don’t have to even spray directly on the tree) or the PyGanic Botanical Insecticide (if you want something to spray directly on your tree).

Donna Wilfong

Can you use this in garden and still eat vegetables?

    Karen

    It depends on the fogging liquid you’re using with your propane fogger. The information on if you can use the solution and still eat your vegetables after fogging should be on the label of the product.

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