What Is Fumigation? Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

175

Have you been noticing an uptick in crawling pests around your home? Well, that’s quite unfortunate.

However, it’s not the end-all-be-all, because there is something you can do about it. And that something is called fumigation. If you’re wondering “What is fumigation?” – wonder no longer.

In this article, we will cover that and much more, including the process, chemicals used, and the approximate cost.

So keep reading to learn more.

What Is Fumigation?

Now to address the most important question of “What is fumigation?”. Well, it’s a process through which lethal chemicals diffuse/dissipate into a designated area to target and eliminate infestations of pests of all variety.

The process is imperative to ridding your home or other property from roaches, termites, ants. But it is often found in the import/export industry to rid international goods of exotic organisms and potential pests.

The Three Types of Fumigation Process

When it comes to fumigation, there are three methods that deliberately stand out. And they are solid fumigation, gas fumigation, and liquid fumigation. Each of them serving a different purpose, but to the extent of the greater picture nonetheless.

To better understand what each method represents, we need to be a little bit more in-depth.

Solid Fumigation

Solid fumigation is often deployed to the purpose of eliminating specific pests. In general, the type of pest problem helps define the type of fumigation that is applicable.

Solid fumigants come in a variety of forms, such as tablet, pellets, powder. These fumigants are not applied indiscriminately but rather deployed in a very measured and cautious manner.

A certain amount of solid fumigants is sufficient for a certain surface area. So how is the ideal dosage determined to cover a particular area?

Well, first and foremost, you shouldn’t worry about that, because solid fumigation is the specialty pest control specialists, not you. You only direct them to the source of the problem, and then give them room to do the job. Usually, aluminum phosphide and calcium cyanide are part of solid fumigants.

How safe is solid fumigation? In premise, this type of fumigation touts to be significantly safer than the other two. Not to mention, the chemicals used in this method are mild, even though they still eliminate pests easily.

Nonetheless, being safer does not constitute being harmless. It simply means they are not as harmful in comparison to the other methods. A professional applying solid fumigants still need to wear protective gear, because exposure to these fumigants will lead to several health conditions.

Each of the solid fumigants can eliminate a certain species of pests, and at different stages of their development. For instance, that is, from the egg to the larva to the pupa to adult sizes. Solid fumigants are also used to eliminate pests in agricultural products.

In any case, this method is only applied when the pest control specialist determines that the problem requires solid fumigation, and not something else.

However, what you will find is that you are also involved in this process because this is your home, your pests, and your health.

Gas Fumigation

One of the most popular of fumigation techniques is gas fumigation. Oddly enough, the gas method is primarily odorless, but it does require the utmost attention and adherence to safety protocol.

The use of gas fumigants is regulatory by the Environmental Protection Agency. Certain situations require certain gas fumigants, and because there are many, the pest control service will have to determine which is most befitting.

For instance, agricultural fumigation used on dry fruits, cereal grains, and tree nuts, employs the use of sulfuryl fluoride.

Or methyl bromide and vikane gas used for the elimination of nematodes and plant pests. So considering the variance in the application, the method of application is also variable and only a professional knows how to properly do it. If your health matters, professional use is the key to avoiding exposure to hazardous gas.

In many cases, tenting is required where gas fumigants are used. This ensures the gas traps itself in a concentration that is sufficient enough to penetrate target areas. Due to diffusion, gas moves and retains in a certain concentration for a period of time until pests have died.

Whether the property is residential, commercial, or agricultural, you are not to be present for your own safety – at least until the treatment has had its desired effect.

Before a gas fumigant application occurs to a target area, the place has to be free of pets and humans – apart from the specialist who will be wearing protecting gear.

This is even more so important because most of the gas fumigants are entirely odorless. This poses a significant risk to people who are unbeknownst to the environmental procedure. However, Chloropicrin is often used to prevent this. It’s an irritant, a.k.a warning agent that keeps anybody out of the area due to its chemical nature.

Liquid Fumigation

Unlike gas fumigation, this type of fumigation is liquid-based and is applicable in a variety of scenarios, such as insect infestation, mold growth, etc.

To perform this type of fumigation, a sprayer works just fine. And in premise, there are two things that ring true for liquid fumigants. First, they are flammable. Second, they are toxic to pets and humans.

Knowing this is critical to avoiding a hazardous accident or fire. Liquid fumigants are primarily applied in outdoor locations, such as orchards and farms.

This means that they often used to protect agricultural products from various conditions. Nonetheless, liquid fumigation is often done in enclosed locations as well.

Unlike an outdoor environment in which the mist will dissipate quickly, it takes a long time to evaporate in an enclosed environment.

In your best interest, you should remain a distance apart during fumigations until the area becomes safe for entry. When liquid fumigants occur, utmost attention and caution are of impertinent importance. That means protecting gear and safety protocol adherence.

So what kind of chemicals occur in liquid fumigants, gas fumigants, and solid fumigants? Well, that’s what the next part is for.

Types of Chemical Used in Fumigation

As mentioned earlier, it’s about time that we cover the various chemicals that come up in fumigation. You will find that even though most of these chemicals have the same lethal profile for pests, they all serve a different purpose. Not to mention, they work differently in each environment.

Dichloronitroethane

This is a type of fumigation chemical proven to be effective against various pest infestations. While it’s very capable of pest elimination, one must be wary of its highly corrosive chemical profile, especially for metals situated in a moist environment.

In general, this chemical occurs in an agricultural setting, such as soil pest extermination, farm produce storage, maintenance, etc.

It also has a tendency to irritate the eyes; thus, one must be careful when in its presence. Protective gear should be worn to avoid inhalation and exposure to the eye.

Propylene Dichloride

Another effective fumigant is the propylene dichloride. It is useful for both commercial and domestic purposes. In order for it to be effective against insects and pests, it’s use protocol has to be followed to a tee.

When applying this fumigant chemical, protective gear is highly recommended. But even then it’s best to acquire expert advice for determining if this fumigant is even applicable to your situation.

Ethylene Dichloride

This chemical fumigant is another one that can help with general pest issues. And as expected, if it’s lethal to pests, it’s probably toxic to you.

In order to protect yourself, you must use a respirator when applying it anywhere. It’s fast-acting which means you will be able to witness insect and pest death at short notice.

Ethylene Dibromide

This type of chemical fumigant is very effective in the extermination of all forms of pests and insects.

Whether your problem is commercial, agricultural, or residential, this fumigant can resolve it.

However, it does not come without risk. For instance, it causes serious skin irritation, and prolonged exposure can damage your vital organs. Such as the kidney and liver, among others.

When using this chemical, standardized safety measures are of utmost importance. Protective clothing, chemical masks, and reduced exposure are necessary.

Ethylene Oxide

This type of fumigant is capable of eliminating a variety of pests and insects. It is highly flammable, thus it is usually mixed with a non-flammable carrier.

It is toxic and can lead to various skin, eye and respiration diseases. It is an agricultural fumigant, and the application specifications are written on the label.

Applying the right dosage is critical to the safety of people, and the longevity of agricultural produce.

Hydrogen Cyanide

This is the most toxic fumigant. Even though it’s very effective, it’s used has been diminished tremendously. It is soluble in water, and it can turn to acid.

Due to this, it is irritating to the skin surfaces. It’s very fast-acting and paralyzes the insects/pests before finally, killing them.

If you decide to use this chemical, make sure to read through instructions with the utmost attention. It is useful for all types of pests. Protective gear is most important with this fumigant.

Carbon Disulphide

This type of fumigant is used in hot tropical climates which has a tendency to volatilize chemicals.

Because it is so effective in eliminating pests, it has serious hazards. Such as explosions, which can occur during application. However, burning is also another likelihood.

This fumigant should not be inhaled under any circumstance, so protective equipment is necessary.

Prolonged exposure will lead to death and unconsciousness. Because of the flammable nature, it is mixed with non-flammable carriers for safety. It comes in drums or metal cans which have to be stored in cool well-aired rooms.

It should not be unkempt under direct sunlight because the sun is more than enough to heat it. The fumigant comes with specific instructions, and you should follow them to the tee.

Fumigation Costs

Pest control uses bait systems and/or chemical fumigation treatments that cost anywhere from $5 to $12 per linear foot, which comes out to an average of $530 per infestation.

The final price is dependent on the footprint or length of perimeter, walls, area infested at home. If tenting the home or area is required, one can expect to pay $1 to $2 per square foot of the area. The costs will vary depending on the size of the home, the degree of the infestation, and the number of treatments.

For soil treatments used in agriculture, the price ranges from $5 to $12 per linear foot or $1300 for a 1580 sq. ft. area. In any case, these are only estimates, because the pricing is variable by country, city, location, necessity, technique, chemicals, etc.

Fumigation Explained

Now that you finally know what is fumigation, you are well on your way to deciding whether or not you will need it in your life.

In any case, fumigation is relatively safe, as long as all safety protocol is adhered to, and that nobody unbeknownst to the process is in harm’s way. Fumigation is often necessary, and there is no other way to resolve an infestation. However, there are other less-risk methods that are known to work, but those are not to be mentioned in this article.

In regard to your choice, it’s your infestation and your decision to resolve it, so whatever method you choose is going to be the right one, no matter what.

If you’re interested in learning more about similar topics, go through our categorical pages at the top of the website.