Pest Prevention | Posted: August 10, 2023

Your Questions About Fumigation Answered

Finding pests in or around your property is never fun, and most people’s first reaction to discovering an infestation is, “I need to get rid of this problem now.” No two scenarios are the same, but one thing is certain — for severe infestations, fumigation is often known to be the last line of defense. If you’re considering fumigation, you probably have questions about how the process works and if such a drastic treatment is required. In today’s blog, we answer the most common questions we receive about fumigations. 

What Is Fumigation?

Fumigation is a potent pest control method that involves the release of a fumigant gas into an infested area or an entire structure. The process involves covering the entire property, including the soil, with a gas-impervious covering or tent to ensure the fumigant gas remains contained. While tent fumigation is a common method, there are alternative options available (like tape-and-seal) depending on the specific pest and infestation severity.

Fumigation targets pests at all stages of their life cycle and is known for its high success rate. This gas is able to penetrate even the smallest cracks and crevices, reaching areas that may be difficult to access through other means.

It’s important to note that fumigation is a specialized type of treatment that requires total vacancy of the property and should only be performed by licensed professionals.

What Pests Can Be Treated with Fumigation?

Fumigation is a highly effective pest control method that can be used to treat a wide range of pests in residential and commercial settings. Some of the common pests that can be effectively eliminated through fumigation include termites, bed bugs, cockroaches, and spiders. In most cases, fumigation isn’t recommended unless absolutely necessary. Minor infestations, or early stage infestations, can sometimes be addressed by less invasive treatment options, but when all else fails, fumigations can eradicate most pests.

How Can You Tell When to Fumigate?

Fumigation is a highly effective pest control method that can address severe infestations and eliminate a wide range of pests. But how can you tell when it’s time to consider fumigation for your property?

If you observe widespread pest activity in multiple areas of your property, or if more conventional pest control methods have proven ineffective, fumigation may be the best solution. Each pest situation is different, and it’s best to let the experts determine a path forward to rid your home of unwanted invaders. A trained pest professional will be able to inspect your property, assess your unique circumstances, and provide you with a treatment plan that may or may not include fumigation. Your exterminator will likely consider the following criteria when establishing a treatment plan:

  • The severity of the infestation
  • Type of pest(s) involved
  • Lifestyle of property owner
  • Type of property
  • And other key indicators.

How Do You Prepare for Fumigation?

If you have scheduled professional fumigation, there are a number of things you should do to prepare prior to receiving treatment. Keep in mind that during fumigation, your property will be completely inaccessible and must be vacant for the duration of the treatment. While the list we’ve compiled is thorough, you should always ask the professional you’re working with how to best prepare your property.

First, if your property is a primary residence, alternative lodging for any residents (including pets and animals of any kind) is required. 

Next, you should open all doors and raise blinds or window coverings inside the property. Depending on your circumstances, your hired professional may recommend opening cabinets and drawers as well. This allows the fumigant gas to circulate properly, reaching all areas of the structure and effectively eliminating the pests.

Sealing food items is another important precaution to take. Any food that is not properly sealed in airtight containers should be removed from the property. This helps to prevent contamination and ensures that the food remains safe to consume.

Pruning any plants that are near the property is necessary. This allows for better access to the structure and prevents any damage to the plants during the fumigation process.

Scheduling a gas service shutoff is crucial to prevent any accidents or mishaps during fumigation. It is important to coordinate with the gas company to ensure that the gas supply is shut off before the fumigation begins.

Finally, it is recommended to relocate vehicles, including automobiles and motorcycles, from the property during the fumigation process.

By following these necessary steps and precautions, homeowners can properly prepare for fumigation and ensure the success of the pest control method. But remember — if you have questions, ask a licensed professional.

A home with a well manicured lawn and a red door

What Should I Expect from Fumigation?

Fumigations involve sealing or tenting a property so the area can be dosed with concentrated, extremely potent pesticides. If you’re curious about what to expect from a fumigation, we break down how we handle tent fumigations at Dodson Pest Control.

On the morning of the first day, we confirm the cubic footage of your structure to determine the exact dosage of fumigant and the most effective way to cover the entire structure. Fans, electrical connections, and lines are strategically placed inside the home to monitor the dispersal of gas.

Meanwhile, the exterior of the home is prepared to be covered by large, specially-made tarps in order to fully seal the entire structure. Before placing the tarps over the structure, we sometimes have to remove antennas, weather vanes, and chimney coverings on the roof that may tear the tarp. We cover corners, plumbing vent pipes, and other sharp edges of the roof and corners of the house so the tarp will not tear once it is in place.

Our personnel raise the tarps to the roof of the house and unroll them to completely cover the roof of the house. Seams between the tarps are unrolled and tightly clamped together. Long, weighted sandbags are placed on the tarp all around the house to maintain the seal. Once the house is completely covered, our professional, licensed technicians make final preparations in the interior to ensure that the fumigant will be introduced evenly in all parts of the home inside and also out under the tarp.

If you have been scheduled to receive a tape-and-seal fumigation, a similar process is followed, but instead of tenting the whole property, we carefully seal all entry points using our stringent protocols.

Once sealed, the entire structure is wrapped as a precaution against wind damage to help maintain the seal. At this stage, no residents are permitted to enter the property. Warning signs are placed on all sides of the structure. For security, secondary locks are placed on all entry doors. When the structure is completely sealed and properly secured, the fumigant can be introduced into the structure. 

Our personnel utilizes a fumiguide computer to calculate the proper dosage of fumigant, which is strictly regulated by state regulators. We weigh the fumigant tank on site and carefully release the proper amount of the fumigant, calculated for your property’s dimensions.

Once the necessary amount of fumigant is introduced, the concentration of the fumigant in various parts of the house is monitored with a fumiscope. Interior air samples are taken several times during the fumigation process to ensure the proper concentration of fumigant is maintained. A Dodson representative stays on the property overnight to safeguard your property and to take fumiscope readings.

Generally, the sealed fumigation lasts for approximately 24 hours. This time period ensures that all the pests are eliminated by the fumigant through proper exposure. On the second day, our technicians return and begin the process in reverse. The tarps covering the house are loosened, and sandbags and clamps are removed. To begin the aeration process, the house is opened up to the outside air to make sure that levels of fumigant are reduced on the inside. Once aerated for several hours, a technician enters the house wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus, opening up the windows and doors to ensure proper ventilation.

We then begin to remove the tarps to continue the aeration process. An approved clearing device is used to test the inside air and ensure proper dissipation. The tarps, supply lines, monitor lines, fans and protective coverings are then removed. After the house has been completely aerated, our technicians continue to measure the interior air with the approved clearing device, which can detect gas in parts per million. We test the air around beds, pillows and other items for the smallest amounts of remaining fumigant.

Once each room is cleared with a reading of less than one part per million, your fumigation team will close any open drawers, windows, and doors. After all areas of the house have been carefully checked, your pest control expert will determine if the fumigation is complete and when the structure is ready for re-occupancy.

Your Dodson Pest Control representative will review with you all of the details of the completed fumigation and answer any questions. While it is challenging to vacate your home for this service, structural fumigation is the most effective method to control serious pest infestations when no other alternative will work.

What Other Treatment Options Do I Have?

When dealing with pest infestations, fumigation is just one of several treatment options available. Here are some alternative approaches to consider:

  1. Liquid Treatments: Liquid treatments are carefully applied in target areas where pest activity is most apparent, and can be used for a variety of pest issues, including localized termite infestations and minor bed bug infestations.
  2. Bait Stations: Bait stations are another option that range from pest to pest. These stations contain slow-acting pesticides that pests ingest and carry back to their colonies, effectively eliminating the entire population. Bait stations are a discreet and targeted approach, making them a popular choice for homeowners.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Implementing regular maintenance practices can help prevent infestations in the first place. Routine treatments can deter a variety of pests from entering your residence.

While fumigation is a highly effective method for treating severe infestations, alternative treatments may be viable options for less severe or localized infestations. Consultation with a professional pest control company can help determine the best approach for your specific situation. 

Who Can Perform a Fumigation?

When it comes to fumigation, it is crucial to trust the job to professionals. Attempting to perform fumigation without the proper qualifications and experience and equipment can have serious consequences. Not only can it potentially endanger the health and safety of those involved, but it can also lead to inadequate pest control, allowing the infestation to persist. Fumigation should only be performed by qualified and experienced experts who have the necessary credentials and licenses. At Dodson Pest Control, we take pride in our team of licensed fumigators who are highly trained in performing safe and effective fumigation treatments.

To ensure a successful fumigation treatment and the complete eradication of pests, trust the professionals at Dodson Pest Control. We offer free inspections to assess your pest situation and provide you with a tailored fumigation solution. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection and let our experienced fumigation team take care of your pest control needs.

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