What Is Fumigation?


Fumigation is the process by which a lethal chemical is released into an enclosed area to eliminate an infestation of pests. This process may be used in order to rid a home or other structure of insects such as termites or roaches, but it may also be used when products are being processed for export or import in order to rid the goods of exotic pests and organisms.


  • There are two methods that are commonly used in the commercial fumigation process to seal the lethal chemical into the building for long enough to do its job. One is to completely seal the building with a sealant, such as tape or plastic. The other is to encase the structure in a nylon tent. After the allotted amount of time, the chemicals are allowed to escape from the area and the tent or sealant is removed.

Time frame

  • The fumigation process varies depending on the type and size of the building that is being fumigated, the type of pests being removed, and the temperature at which the chemical is being used, among other circumstances. Depending on the circumstances, including the extent of the infestation, the fumigation may take as little as six hours to as long as an entire week to complete.


  • The fumigation process can be hazardous to people living or working in the structure and to any pets that the occupants may have. After the process has begun, people will be asked to leave the premises and not return until the process has been completed. The area must be completed ventilated and in some cases cleaned entirely, before people may safely inhabit the structure again.

Do it yourself

  • If the infestation is small, it may be possible for the fumigation to be carried out by the home or business owner, without the help of an experienced fumigator. Products can be purchased over the counter that will kill many different types of pests, allowing individuals to rid their homes of insects on their own. It should be noted that even “over the counter” pesticides are extremely harmful and the instructions should be followed completely. When do-it-yourself fumigation takes place, the area is normally not sealed off by tape or a tent.


  • In the case of the commercial fumigation process, where the fumigation is not carried out by the homeowner using store-bought chemicals, it is normally required by law that the fumigator hold a license to use the chemicals needed to fumigate an area. This is because most chemicals used in this process are of a toxic nature and can cause injury or even death to humans and pets.

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