What are the different types of fumigation? How do they differ in methods and safety considerations? Find out.

During pest control, a whole lot of strategies are deployed to bring about the total elimination of such pests.

Fumigation is among the most popular extermination methods. This is mostly provided by pest control services and involves the use of chemicals.


There are several types of fumigation techniques that will be mentioned and discussed here. Which is best for your pest situation is entirely up to you.

A pest management technician is likely to recommend a fumigation type based on your preferences and the type of pest problem being treated.

Are All Fumigation Techniques Hazardous?

All fumigants are meant to be toxic. Plus, these lethal concentrations are applied to have the desired effect on pests.

A simple way to determine its toxicity is by focusing on the safety procedures for application. Professional pest control technicians are always seen to wear protective clothing.

These are akin to hazmat suits and are meant to protect the technician from inhalation. Whatever type of fumigation it is you apply, it’s best to stay far away until from the fumigated area until treatment is over. All fumigants, by their nature, are penetrating.

In other words, they are meant to penetrate all most materials and tight spaces likely to serve as hiding spots for pests.

However, this doesn’t mean that fumigants will need to be focused or applied to hard-to-reach areas. Rather, it spreads by diffusion. In severe cases of pest infestation, diffusion may need to be improved by using fans to help diffuse fumigants more evenly across the area.

You want to be as far away as possible during fumigation. There have been several cases of accidents where people have been killed by fumigant poisoning. You don’t want to be a part of this unfortunate statistic. Professional pest control services ensure apply strict safety measures.

Apart from physically inspecting to ensure everyone is out of a property before fumigation, a warning agent is applied. This is called chloropicrin.

Once released into the property, it causes all sorts of irritations with the aim of flushing everyone out before the main fumigant is applied. Chloropicrin causes upper respiratory plus eye irritation.

  • Tenting

As part of the safety requirements to ensure people don’t get poisoned from fumigation, tenting is necessary. This keeps or traps the fumigant which was applied at a certain concentration.

That way, it penetrates all hidden areas and tight spots and exterminates pests fast.

Target Pests

There are varieties of pests that are controlled or exterminated through fumigation. These include household pests as well as agricultural pests. Although there’s an almost inexhaustible list a few of them include termites, mice, rats, ants, bees and wasps.

Others are earwigs, ladybugs, spiders, mosquitoes, weevils, moles, squirrels, chipmunks, fleas, roaches, bed bugs and birds.

These are only some of the many pests which can be controlled through fumigation. Fumigation takes different forms, which takes us to the focus of our discussion; the types of fumigation.

3 Different Types Of Fumigation Procedure

There are basically three types of fumigation. These are gas fumigation, liquid fumigation and solid fumigation. Each type serves a specific purpose. To further understand what each type is meant for, we’ll be expanding on each of them.

Without further ado, let’s proceed as follows;

  • Gas Fumigation

Gas fumigation is among the most popular fumigation techniques deployed by pest management services. These are mostly odorless and will require utmost adherence to safety instructions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the use of these gas fumigants.

Different gas fumigants are ideal for certain situations. A pest control service will determine what fits a particular pest situation. Sulfuryl fluoride is a fumigant mostly used to fumigate agricultural products such as tree nuts, dry fruits, and cereal grains.

Vikane gas and methyl bromide are gaseous fumigants used on a variety of insects, rodents, nematodes, and plant pests. Their application methods also differ and must only be used by a professional. Professional use is necessary as it helps avoid exposure to such hazardous gases.

Tenting of structures or areas where gas fumigants will be used is necessary. This traps the gas in at a certain concentration sufficient enough to penetrate target materials and tight spots. This moves by diffusion and is held for a period of time until all pests are exterminated.

Whether the structure is commercial, residential or even agricultural products, you aren’t allowed to be there for your own safety. At least until after the treatment when the gas fumigant has had its desired effect (exterminated all pests).

i. Warning Agent

Before gas fumigants are applied or pumped into a structure or target area, such a place will need to be free of pets or other humans. That is, apart from the technician who’s wearing protective gear. This was briefly mentioned earlier.

Why this is important is because most types of gas fumigants are odorless. This could pose a severe risk to persons within a building at the time of application. However, a warning agent like Chloropicrin helps avoid this from happening. Unlike fumigants, this gas is an irritant that serves to keep anyone or living thing out.

Having applied the warning agent, sufficient time (mostly a few minutes) is allowed to pass before gas fumigants are pumped in.

  • Liquid Fumigation

This is another type of fumigation applied with the same purpose of exterminating pests. Unlike gas fumigants, these fumigants are liquid-based and applied quite differently to all sorts of problems like mold, insects and other pests.

One of the most important equipments needed for applying liquid fumigants is a sprayer.

Two things hold true for liquid fumigants. That is, they are generally flammable, and are toxic to humans and pets.

Knowing this is important to help avoid fire and hazardous accidents. Liquid fumigants are mostly used in outdoor environments such as on farms and orchards.

That means they are mostly used to protect agricultural products from pest activity. However, this type of fumigation is also performed within enclosed areas too. Unlike outdoor environments where mist resulting from spraying such fumigants get easily dissipated, it takes a longer time to dissipate within enclosures.

The rule of thumb is to keep a distance throughout the period of fumigation until it is considered safe to enter such areas. When using liquid fumigants, utmost care needs to be taken. That includes wearing protective gear and reading the safety instructions that come with such products.

So, what are these liquid fumigants? They are quite varied and include methyl bromide, carbon disulfide, ethylene dichloride, ethyl acetate, sulphuryl fluoride, and chloroform carbon tetrachloride. These are effective liquid fumigants used in a variety of pest conditions with great results.

  • Solid Fumigation

This is the third type of fumigation which is deployed for specific pest issues. The type of pest problem determines what fumigation method to apply, one of which has to do with the use of solid fumigation. Solid fumigants come in different forms.

These are powder, pellet and tablet forms. Such solid fumigants aren’t just applied indiscriminately. Rather, it is measured like other types of fumigants and applied with caution. A specific amount of solid fumigants will cover or be sufficient for a specific area. So what dosage is ideal and sufficient to cover a particular area?

Well, first of all, you won’t have to be bothered with dosage as solid fumigation is also carried out by pest control professionals. You only need to point the way and give way for them to perform their job. Popular solid chemical fumigants include calcium cyanide and aluminum phosphide.

How about safety? Well, solid fumigants have been touted to be much safer compared to gas fumigants. Plus, these chemicals are milder on the environment despite exterminating pests effectively.

However, being safer only doesn’t translate to being harmless on humans. It only means aren’t as harmful when compared to gas fumigants. A professional applying such fumigants will still need to wear protective gear. Exposure to these types of fumigants has been linked to several health conditions.

Each of these solid fumigants exterminates a variety of pests at different stages of development. That is, from the egg, larva, pupa, to adult stages. These are used to exterminate pests in agricultural products. This gives far-reaching solutions to all sorts of pest issues.

The adoption of this type of fumigation is determined by what is considered the best alternative by a pest control technician. After inspection of the problem, recommendations are given to you before proceeding with the process.

What is common with all pest control measures is that you are involved in the decision-making process. Most pest management services seek to offer highly satisfactory services that also includes customer service.

Final Thoughts

Having considered the different types of fumigation methods, you are able to get a clearer picture of the options available to you. The different fumigation scenarios fit different circumstances. So, for instance, gas fumigation won’t be effective for agriculture for the sole reason that fumigants need to be applied outdoors.

Gas fumigation is done best in enclosed environments. Hence the need to find a more suitable method for the pest problem you’re faced with.

Has this been helpful? We hope it has.