Pros & Cons of Fumigation

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Fumigation is used for bad bug infestations that can't be dealt with by other means.
Fumigation is used for bad bug infestations that can't be dealt with by other means. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Deciding whether to fumigate is a difficult decision that requires you to weigh a number of factors. Fumigation is a form of pest control that involves completely filling an area with toxic pesticide gas to kill termites, fleas and other destructive organisms. Fumigation is often used in homes to clear out pests but also may be done to soil, produce and packaged goods to prevent the transfer of organisms. It has a number of benefits, but it also has drawbacks you should consider.

Complete Eradication of Pests

The most obvious benefit of fumigation is that it will rid your home or other area of the pests. A fumigation fog is designed to get into even the smallest nooks and crannies, seeking out the smallest pests holed away that you can't reach with conventional methods such as localized sprays. After a few days, a proper fumigation should kill a colony of pests.

Kills Good Organisms

Fumigation chemicals kill everything, not just the organisms you want to get rid of. This can be particularly problematic for soil fumigations, because it may kill natural predators that can keep pests in check, risking a re-invasion. Fumigation may also cause nursery plans to struggle due to a lack of necessary microbiological activity, which the fumigation disrupted.

Can Help Plant Growth

Soil fumigations can double plant growth in the early years if done right, according to a University of California study. While fumigants can present some risk to plants, the advantages of destroyed plant-eating pests may outweigh them in the right circumstances. Fumigation eliminates pathogens such as nematodes and insects. Fumigations can be long-lasting as well. A single fumigation can stop nematodes, for example, for as long as six years, although sometimes for as little as six months.

Inconvenience

Fumigations involve flooding an area with toxic chemicals, so if you're fumigating your house, you'll have to move out for a few days to wait for those chemicals to disperse. This can bring great inconvenience and significantly disrupt your life, so you may have to plan it around vacation time, which can be a hassle.

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