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Fumigation

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Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides to suffocate or poison the pests within. It is utilized for control of pests in buildings (structural fumigation), soil, grain, and produce, and is also used during processing of goods to be imported or exported to prevent transfer of exotic organisms.

Fumigants are a unique valuable and to a large extent irreplaceable group of pesticides that can kill insects where no other form of control is feasible. Unlike aerosols and other contact insecticides, fumigants at a required temperature and relative humidity can exist in the gaseous state and in sufficient concentration and time be lethal to a given pest organism. The unique property of fumigants is that as gases they diffuse as separate molecules, which enables them to penetrate into the material being fumigated and to diffuse away afterwards.

The goal of fumigation is to confine enough gas for sufficient time to eradicate the target pest, which in normal conditions is achieved in a static chamber under control of one qualified fumigator.

Normally the process of fumigation is complete when a clearance certificate is issued. The latter can only be issued when tests show that all residual fumigant has been dispersed and any residual fumigant material has been removed.

In
marine fumigation in order to avoid idle time of ship in port of loading a clearance certificate can be issued at discharge and fumigation takes place in transit.

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