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Do Bug Bombs Kill Houseplants? (Solved & Explained!)

Bug bombs are an increasingly popular way to get rid of house pests, and if you are here you are likely thinking of using one.

However, understanding the dangers bug bombs pose to your houseplants can save you a lot of frustration.

In this article, I will tell you the effects of bug bombing on houseplants, how far away your plant is safe and many other helpful answers.

Firstly, Here’s If Bug Bombs Can Kill Houseplants:

No, bug bombs won’t kill or harm your houseplants in any way. Because of the very high temperatures, there is a danger of bug bombs burning your houseplants if used too close to them, but the chemicals in bug bombs pose no threat. Bug bombs could even help get rid of some houseplant pests.

Can You Bug Bomb With Houseplants Inside?

Yes, you can safely leave houseplants inside the home while you bug bomb. Although it is advised for humans and pets to be removed from the household when you use bug bombs, houseplants could be left in the house because the chemicals won’t affect plants.

This is because the chemicals used in bug bombs are not safe to inhale for humans or pets, but they are very similar to those used in common insecticides so they won’t affect houseplants.

So, contrary to common belief, bug bombs don’t pose any threat to your houseplants.

Bombs only need a few hours to work therefore you only need to leave the home for 3-4 hours and then upon your return, try and open as many doors and windows as possible to allow the excess chemicals to leave the home.

You can also choose to do this and then sit outside for a while just to ensure that the air inside the home is clean and not full of chemicals.

Some bug bomb brands advise airing the home for several hours before you head back inside for more than a few minutes.

There are many brands of bug bombs, so always read the instruction beforehand!

How Far Away Should Your Houseplant Be From The Bomb?

It is advised that you use bug bombs around 6 feet away from any houseplant. Even though houseplants cannot be harmed by the use of bug bombs, don’t place the bomb directly next to the plant because it could burn the plant.

If used too close, the residue from the bomb could also stick to the leaves of the plant and stay there for a while.

Sticky residue on the plant’s leaves could actually harm it, making it harder for the plant to photosynthesize.

Also, if you, a child or pet, were then to touch the plant the residue would transfer to you and that can be dangerous.

That’s in extreme cases though, most likely your houseplant’s will not see any negative effects from bug bombing, just don’t do it too close.

Do You Have To Clean Your Houseplant After Bug Bombing?

You don’t have to clean your houseplant after using a bug bomb. If you however want to do so, it is recommended to at least wait a few hours, then wipe it down with warm soapy water and a cloth.

Even if the plant doesn’t require it, you might want to clean your houseplant just to be extra sure that there is no residue left on the plant, so that you and your family can safely touch it.

Always remember that the first thing to do when you return home after bug bombing is to open all of your windows and doors.

The chemicals can linger around for several hours and they are harmful to humans and pets to inhale.

After you’ve done that, the chemicals will begin to leave your home and you can move on to cleaning the houseplant, and your other surfaces.

Here’s how you clean your houseplant after bug bombing, step by step:

  1. Grab warm, slightly soapy water mixed in a bowl and a cloth.
  2. Firstly, wipe down the leaves and stem of the houseplant as well as the outside of the pot. The soap will remove any trace of the bug bomb chemicals.
  3. Get a new clean cloth that just has warm water on it and wipe the soap off the leaves and stem of the plant.
  4. Simply leave your plant to dry, don’t use a fan to dry it off. If you want to know more about why, check out this in-depth article about the effect of fans on plants.

Soap cannot directly harm the plant but it can prevent it from photosynthesising properly which, in turn, can decrease its health.

Can Bug Bombs Kill Houseplant Pests?

Yes, bug bombs can actually help kill houseplants pests such as aphids, spider mites and fungus gnats. That’s because most bug bombs contain Pyrethrin and several other pesticides that are found in typical houseplant pest repellants.

In theory, this means that using a bug bomb can actually help improve your houseplant’s health in the long run.

That being said, traditional pest repellents are much more effective in killing houseplant pests than bug bombs.

Here are the most common houseplant pests that can be killed using bug bombs:

  • Aphids
  • Spider mites
  • Red spider mites
  • Fungus gnats
  • Mealybugs
  • Thrips
  • Whitefly
  • Common brown scale

The bug bombs work by spreading the chemicals in and around the home to hopefully kill any pests that may be lurking around.

Although this includes your plants, you should never bug bomb to kill houseplant pests, as there are many more efficient ways of doing it.

How To Cover Your Houseplant While Bug Bombing?

Firstly, it is not necessary to cover your plant during the bombing as the chemical pose no threat to the plant itself.

However, if you want to limit the amount of cleaning you need to do post-bombing, then covering your houseplants might be a good option.

To cover your houseplant while bug bombing, use an old sheet, pillowcase or even tea towel depending on the plant’s size. Cover your plant completely and secure the cover with old books or weights that can be easily cleaned after the bombing. 

This way, no breeze or airflow can move the material and the houseplant can stay protected and clean during the whole bombing process.

Then, all you need to do is place the material on a hot wash and the chemicals will be removed.

Avoid using trash bags if possible. The chemicals from the bug bomb do not stick as well on plastic as they do on cloth.

Final Thoughts

Bug bombs will not kill or even harm your houseplants, and in some cases, they might even help get rid of the more common pests.

Just keep in mind to place the bug bomb at least 6 feet away from your plant and clean the plant afterwards, especially if you have children or pets.

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