What is Diesel Bug?

Discover how using Exocet Anti Bug Additives can help prevent your fuel getting Diesel Bug 

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What is Diesel Bug?

Diesel bug is a term used for microbial and bacterial organisms that grow on fuels. They live and feed at the interface between water and diesel, creating biomass, biofilms and damaging by-products. They can reproduce quickly and cause serious problems in fuel systems. Diesel bug is more likely to occur in fuels that contain biodiesel, which is hygroscopic and attracts water.

What is the Cause of the Diesel Bug? 

The diesel bug occurs when the bio content of the fuel attaches itself to water droplets that may be floating around in a fuel storage tank, this is called hyper-suspension. Water content within a tank occurs naturally over time due to condensation caused by temperature changes. Other factors that may speed up this unfortunate issue vary from damage to the tank or container that is used to store said fuel, missing caps allowing rainwater to seep in to where the fuel is located.

What can Diesel Bug Lead to? 

  • Restricted Fuel flow/Fuel Starvation
  • Blocked Pipes and Filters
  • Corrosion of internal engine components
  • Find out Fuel Degradation, downgrade, or outright loss
  • Higher Maintenance Costs
  • Excessive Sludge Build up
  • Emulsions (Fuel-Water mixtures that won't separate)

What Does Diesel Bug Look Like? 

The diesel bug will closely resemble a slime, the colour itself may vary depending on the type or types of microorganism making the slime its home but it is often dark brown or black in colour. It will sit between the water and fuel layers of the tank when present and may give of a rather unpleasant smell, somewhat akin to rotten eggs.

How to tell if you may have Diesel Bug? 

While it’s important to make sure you have clean fuel in your tank, we know it's not always so easy looking in your tank to check so here are a few other ways in which you might notice some early warning signs so that you can act in time. 

  • Vehicle or machinery difficult to start
  • Blocked Filters that need changing more often than normal
  • Bad smell or black smoke when burning your fuel
  • Increase in Fuel consumption
  • Dark “coffee like” sediment appearing in filters
  • Although this list is not exhaustive it will hopefully help you in checking your fuel so you can spot the bug before it becomes a problem

How do I prevent Diesel bug in the first place? 

As the old saying goes “Prevention is better than cure” and with diesel bug that is no different, now there are a few ways to approach this.

  1. Tank maintenance and minimizing the risk of water coming into contact with the fuel, this can be done by ensuring you have a cleaning programme in place to flush out the storage tank on a regular cycle. This will reduce the risk of water accumulating over time due to condensation and temperature changes.
  2. By having a filter fitted to your tank, this will reduce the risk of any contamination being passed onto your machinery. 
  3. We recommend Exocet’s Anti Bug and Gas Oil Conditioner additives which can be used in two ways. Using a “protect” dose that will prevent the microbial growth or kill the bug within 24 hours if it is present.  Using the conditioner product works in the same way, but this additive will also increase the shelf life of the fuel up to 2 years, which is ideal if certain machinery is parked up over the winter period.  There are also benefits to engine performance by reducing carbon deposit build up and component wear.

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How can I Get Exocet Anti Bug Additives?  

That’s easy! Just contact our team via phone or email for more information on fuel, whether it's about fuel standards, quality, alternate fuels or additives that help you increase your fuel economy. Our team has the answers and are more than happy to help. If you want to read more information though we also have a blog post about Exocet's Gas Oil conditioner which you can read about here.