Fumigation: Procedure and Types

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Fumigation is a pest control technique that uses chemicals or fumigants to eliminate insects and pests from your homes, buildings and processed goods. The disinfection of fumigant operation is hazardous and all fumigants are harmful to you to some degree. 

In a layman’s term, the term means releasing fumes into the air for controlling pests. The process works on rodents and insects very quickly and effectively.

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When it comes to insect control, prevention is better than cure. So when it comes to insect control, you can try a combination of mechanical controls, sanitation, and the use of harmless inert compounds. These options could prove to be a viable alternative to this method.

What is Fumigation?

The amount of pests and insects that continue to invade our homes is increasing by leaps and bounds. Some of these situations can be controlled easily by protecting your home from these sneaky insects. 

However, there are other situations that are quite unavoidable due to your surroundings and the number of insects that are present in your environment. 

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As a homeowner, you might take on the task of pest control, thinking that it pests can easily be removed without a problem. Unfortunately, this is tough, as pests are just impossible to remove than many homeowners are willing to admit. Once you discover an infestation, you need to make a smart choice of hiring a professional pest control service to address the problem.

What is the Fumigation Procedure?

Disinfection of fumigants is one of the most successful methods used to remove insects that have infested your homes. This procedure is often used to combat the presence of pests at home. Bed bugs, fleas, and cockroaches are few of the hard to remove insects and pests. 

These fumigants can cause a great deal of damage to your home and harm to your family. If done by a professional pest control service – involves the process of using a specific type of chemical. The chemical used is often referred to as fumigant. The chemical is applied to the entire area that houses the insect problem. To make the procedure more effective – it involves tenting and sealing the entire home.

Structural fumigation is another pest control method that involves filling the airspace within a structure with a toxic gas.

Bed bugs, Roach, Flea & Other Pest Disinfection Preparation

If your home or office space has fallen victim to a pest infestation, it is advisable to hire a professional pest control service to fumigate your space. This process would result in the complete removal of the pests. 

The professional pest control service will instruct, assist and guide you in properly preparing your space for the operation. They will help to remove pests from your home and any other items that could potentially be damaged. They will also guide you to take steps for the proper preparation of the process. 

Types of Fumigation

1 Gas Fumigation

Gas disinfection of fumigants utilizes fumigants in their gaseous states for pest control. It is performed either within enclosed chambers or by enclosing an open space with a gas-proof covering. The gas-proof covering is a rubberized form of material and the process of enclosing space is called tenting. 

Once tenting is done and the enclosure is sealed off, a pesticide gas is introduced inside. Tenting keeps the gas confined in the enclosure, and it does not allow the gas to disperse to the outside environment. Once the gas is released, it will penetrate virtually every corner and crevice to kill the targeted insects or rodents. 

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The use of gaseous pesticides is a very effective means of pest control and will work to kill any pest contained within the sealed area. For the most part of the process, the effectiveness is about 90% to 100%, every time the procedure is done using gas. 

This makes it the best option for total control in a highly infested environment. It is also known as space disinfection of fumigants. Gas operation must be done after an area is cleared and cordoned off from humans and animals. Gas disinfection employs the following fumigants for different kinds of pests.

a. Methyl bromide is used to control rodents, termites, insects, nematodes and weeds. 

b. Sulfuryl fluoride is used to control pests in cereal grains, tree nuts and dry fruits. 

Fog disinfection of fumigants is a type of gas disinfection done by a machine that turns insecticidal chemicals into fog. This technique is generally used on the exterior of a building. Say, if there is a massive infestation of mosquitoes, fogging the exterior can be very effective to control the problem.

2 Solid Fumigation

In the case of solid disinfection, systems and techniques utilize solid fumigants for insect control. Solid disinfection is done by sprinkling pellets, powders or tablets of measured quantities of fumigants. 

Solid fumigants are easier to use and safer than gaseous fumigants and are less harmful to the environment. This method employs the following fumigants for different kinds of pests.

a. In the case of flour, tea, cotton and grain, aluminum phosphide is used as a fumigant. It effectively eliminates pests and insects in all stages of development, starting from eggs, larvae, pupae to adults. 

b. Calcium cyanide is a solid fumigant that forms hydrogen cyanide when it reacts with water vapor. It effectively eliminates a wide range of pests.

3 Liquid Fumigation

The technique of Liquid disinfection uses liquid fumigants for mould, pests and insects. It is carried out by sprayers, which disperse large quantities of liquid over the desired area. Most of the liquid fumigants are flammable, volatile and toxic to humans. 

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It acts faster than solid disinfection . It is considered to be safest when it is performed outdoors or within an enclosed disinfection chamber. The liquid fumigants include carbon disulfide, chloroform, ethyl acetate, sulfuryl fluoride, ethylene dichloride, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl bromide.

Types of Chemicals Used in Fumigation

Disinfection of fumigants is indeed one of the best techniques to get rid of pests in your home or property. It helps remove rodents, small mammals and insects from your property. 

Different chemicals can be used for the disinfection of fumigants of your home or property based on your pest. The chemicals used for termite control may not be the same as those used for rodents and flying insects. However, the fumigants used are different in each case. 

1 Magnesium Phosphide

It is a dark grey solid used in powder or granule form. When magnesium phosphide mixes with the atmospheric moisture or acid, it will generate phosphine gas. The gas produced is highly toxic and helps in getting rid of agricultural pests and burrowing pests like termites.

Some companies use aluminum phosphide instead, as it works the same way as magnesium phosphide. The advantage of using aluminum phosphide is that it gets rid of pests in all stages of their development. Solid fumigants are safer compared to gaseous ones since their application can be controlled easily.

2 Methyl Bromide

This is an effective fumigant that kills almost all pests. Methyl bromide is highly toxic and odorless and, when breathed into the lungs of living organisms, humans, and animals, could be dangerous and unsafe.

Methyl bromide is applied in solid or gaseous form according to where and how the fumigant is applied. It is one of the fastest-acting chemicals available in the market today. Hence it is used for outbreaks as a quarantine chemical. 

Methyl bromide is extremely potent, and its use is restricted to severe infestation and agricultural pests. In residential applications, methyl bromide can get rid of rodents, termites, and insects quickly.

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3 Sulfuryl Fluoride

This fumigant is applied as a pressurized liquid gas. It is commonly used for the control of pests in residential areas and in cereal grains, dry fruits, and tree nuts. Though not routinely, it is also used in lumber and automobile yards. 

Other than being toxic, sulfuryl fluoride might cause severe skin burns and irritation when in a liquid state. The surrounding area will generally be cleared of animals and humans before the use of sulfuryl fluoride gas for disinfection.

4 Calcium Cyanide

Calcium Cyanide is a solid fumigant that reacts with the moisture in your environment to form hydrogen cyanide. It is a highly toxic fumigant to almost all pests in your environment. Unfortunately, the gas is highly toxic to pets and humans and is generally restricted to outdoor areas where it can disintegrate fast into harmless compounds.

Picking the right chemical for your property disinfection is not an easy task. Your local pest control company requires expertise to get the right formulation for killing pests with minimal harm to other elements in your environment.

The disinfection technique is highly customized. This is done so that the chemical penetrates every corner of your house. When fumigating outdoors, pest control companies commonly use a plastic or nylon tent to contain the chemical in the treatment area.

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What to Do After Fumigation?

Taking precautionary measures during disinfection is very important. Try to stay away from the home or area that is being fumigated while the area is still sealed. Don’t be in a hurry to return back to your home or place of business after disinfection. But allow the area to be properly cleaned and ventilated before entering back into the premises. 


Whatever be the type of disinfection, it must be avoided by humans. Although each type may have its pros and cons. The the bottom line is they are all toxic to humans. Thus, the areas fumigated must be vacated for a certain period of time until the chemicals are absorbed, rendered inert or have dissipated into the environment.

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