Fumigation Basics: Everything You Need To Know

Fumigation Basics: Everything You Need To Know

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Indoor pest infestations can sometimes become so overwhelming that it may seem like there is no end in sight. DIY pest control, in particular, can be both time-consuming and expensive, with no guarantees that the methods you are using will eventually take care of the overall problem. This is where a service like fumigation comes into play, and if done correctly, and with the right chemicals, can immediately start working. So what are the basics of fumigation?

Fumigation is a pest control service that works by tenting a home or structure and administering powerful pest control chemicals to slowly and effectively kill a wide range of pests. The tenting ensures that gaseous chemicals do not escape, and the pests become trapped inside with nowhere to escape the gas. 

When it comes to fumigation, there is a lot of information to be aware of. Therefore, we are going to explore the basics of fumigation to tell you everything you need to know about this effective form of pest control. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore both the tenting process and the efficiency of gaseous insecticide on a wide range of common pests. Read on to find out everything there is to know about fumigation. 

Fumigation Basics

Fumigation is a process within pest management that utilizes a potent chemical as an aerosol that is distributed throughout the entirety of a home, including the insides of walls. This process is also commonly known in pest management terms as ‘tenting.’ 

Fumigation is one of the best and most comprehensive methods of pest control based on the process that allows a wide distribution of chemicals to permeate through a home for a prolonged amount of time. This differs greatly from the more common usage of foggers due to the use of potent insecticides and the volume by a ratio of aerosol distributed.

Fumigation treatment may help to control an infestation of pests as well with continued use. For more elusive pests, this type of treatment works against the hiding behaviors of the pests and can even destroy eggs as well.

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What is the Meaning of Fumigation?

Fumigation essentially means to disinfect, purify, and destroy all unwanted organisms from inside of a structure. 

The fumigants in the process are gaseous, vaporized chemicals of varying levels of potency that make the inside of the structure virtually inhabitable for any living thing–no matter how large or small. 

As the air inside of the structure fills with gas, and the gas is unable to escape since the structure is tented and completely sealed off from the outside, the gas fumigates the home over several hours. Seeping into the smallest nook and cranny engulfing pests with no escape from the poison. 

Fumigation for pest control is designed to be fast-acting. What this means is that the gaseous chemicals will lose their dangerous compounds after a certain amount of time following the dissipation of the gas cloud inside of the structure. Just long enough to kill hiding pests, but not completely residual as to make all the surfaces inside the home coated with dangerous poison. 

Hence, the poison kills but it also fumigates and purifies the inside of the structure. 

How Does Fumigation Work?

The good news about professional fumigation procedures is the ability of the poison to kill both pests and their eggs depending on the type of pest causing the infestation. For example, bed bug eggs are fragile, which means that the ability to destroy the eggs is much easier than with other pest types. 

The process of fumigation involves a pest control company tenting the entire structure of a home to ensure that the poison remains within the home. Sulfuryl fluoride or heat treatment can be included in this treatment process for dual-effective killing procedures. 

An infestation is then trapped inside of the structure with no way to escape the onslaught of poison or heat, which can also penetrate deep into the walls. In terms of elusive pests like termites or bed bugs, this process seeks to invade all of the possible hiding places of the insects for full elimination. 

Difference Between Fumigation and Fogging in Pest Control

For some, it is easy to confuse the process of using a full-scale fumigation service with the process of buying insecticide bombers from the store and setting those off inside the home or business. Both of these processes are similar in application but completely different in terms of how the processes work and their effectiveness. 

Also called pest bombs, a fogger is a chemical-based insecticide that releases a fine mist into the area it’s being used to control and is being set off in. The mist is designed to kill pests on contact and can be effective for up to three months after the fogger is used. 

While insect foggers are harmful to people when they’re first triggered after the mist has settled (usually a period of no longer than two to four hours) they pose no discernible health issues and as such are safe, providing the instructions are carefully adhered to, to use in residential properties.

While all pest foggers are designed to do the same things and all are effective and efficient at what they do, some are noticeably better at what they do than others. That said, the most effective pest foggers often come with far more stringent guidelines and instructions and can cause irritation, allergy flare-ups, and health problems long after they’ve been used.

However, if you’re looking to use the pest fogger that we’ve found to be an effective form of pest control in the past, then we’d always recommend Hot Shot. It’s a long-lasting, kill-on contact fogger that leaves your home smelling as fresh as a daisy, but make sure that you’re extra vigilant and careful when using it as it can be dangerous.

The problem with pest foggers is that there are some pests that not only will not be controlled by the products but will also become even worse, these pests being bed bugs. Also, foggers cannot come anywhere near covering as much of the inside of a structure as fumigation can, and fumigation can also seal the pests inside with the gas preventing escape. 

Fumigation is also more powerful and can address a pest like bed bugs since the inability of the bugs to escape the poison is assured. 

Many insects can simply hide behind walls or move to another room once a fogger is going off; this is not possible with fumigation since the gas seeps into the entire framework of a structure over time. 

Is Fumigation Safe?

Due to the potency and volume of the chemicals used in this process, it is typically recommended that the home be vacated for at least 24 hours after the treatment is finished. This serves the purpose of ensuring that the chemicals have fully dissipated and all of the pests are destroyed.

Once the fumigants begin to saturate the home, the pests will begin to move all around the home in order to avoid the treatment. In addition to being unsafe due to the chemicals, the residence will also resemble a literal insect invasion due to the insects rapidly crawling out of their hiding spots.

The use of pest insecticides is always potentially dangerous, which is magnified to a much larger scale during the tenting process. Always follow the guidance of the pest professional administering the fumigants to ensure when your home will be safe to occupy.

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Is Fumigation Safe for Babies?

No human or pet should ever be inside of a structure that is being fumigated for pest infestations. Depending on the pest, the chemicals used can be downright deadly when inhaled for long, and in some cases, even short amounts of time. 

If an infestation is small, pest control professionals that decide to use tenting will likely only administer enough chemicals to ensure the infestation is killed. In these situations, the home would be ready for habitation again in about 24-48 hours. 

For large infestations and difficult pests, dangerous chemicals will likely be used, and these instances will sometimes need at least a week to fully dissipate within the home and become benign on surfaces inside the home. 

If these timing guidelines are followed as recommended by fumigation services, there should be no risk at all for a baby, children, or pets inside of the home once all the gas has left the inside atmosphere and become neutralized on surfaces. 

Can You Die From Fumigation?

According to the University of Kentucky, inhalation is the most dangerous and common route of exposure to fumigants. Most are highly toxic so breathing even small amounts can cause serious illness or death. Exposure also can occur through your eyes, mouth, or skin. 

This is why a tenting service will only begin the process once it is assured that all people and pets, including pet fish, etc., are out-of-the-home and will remain out of the home for the entire recommended duration to ensure the chemicals have completely dissipated and home has been properly aired out and ventilated post-fumigation. 

There is always a risk that fumigant gas will escape from a treatment area. Monitoring for these leaks is critical, and this is one of the most important features of professional fumigation. Professionals will make sure to take air samples when treating structures that are next to work areas and will use appropriate gas detectors to verify that fumigants are not leaking. This is particularly important during indoor treatments.

In summary, yes, it is entirely possible to kill from the gas expelled inside of a structure during fumigation, but all the chemicals used have a shelf-life and a half-life, which ensures a home is completely safe to use again granted ventilation has been performed and the allotted amount of time has properly passed. 

How to Get a Fumigation Certificate

There are many types of pests that can be deposited into homes through the shipping and receiving process of goods and products. In fact, this is one of the most common ways that some people get bed bugs because the shipper or handler of the product did not properly fumigate their cargo before shipment at the original site of manufacture. 

This is where a fumigation certificate comes into focus. 

Here in the United States, we require all incoming cargo from overseas, either by sea or air carrier, to be properly fumigated upon entry into the country. We also provide this service for goods that we export into other countries. 

This ensures that all possible pests, particularly termites or bed bugs, have been completely destroyed prior to entry into the country. In order to properly administer this process, shippers and receivers will need to receive a fumigation certificate. 

For the U.S., this certification is regulated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and requires an application to be filled out and approved in order for fumigation certification to be granted. 

Additionally, all pest control providers that offer full-scale fumigation services will also need to receive a license certifying that the company can in fact safely administer fumigation services. Certifications and licensing are handled at the state level. 

Importance of Fumigation

In pest control, especially DIY pest control, home, and business owners are often fighting against an invisible enemy. Pests do not want to live out in the open, and this comes from centuries of survival instincts that ensure both insects and rodents remain hidden in order to survive. 

Furthermore, the insects that set up infestations inside of a home almost always reproduce at stunning and enormous rates. If you see one cockroach, there are at least 10-50 more inside of the home that you should be aware of. The longer that bed bugs are allowed to feed on homeowners, the larger the infestation will become.   

Oftentimes, when an infestation is outside of the control of regular and common pest control eradication procedures, fumigation will become the last resort. What fumigation can do is to ensure that your entire property is free from pests with the use of penetrative gases containing pesticides that are only available to licensed pest control professionals. 

DIY pest control runs into problems when it comes time to address all the pests that hide behind walls, within the ceiling, and deep inside structures such as furniture. The gas is used as an inescapable form of pest control; there is no way for the pests to hide from it, no matter how deep within the structure they hide. 

For example, fumigation can even destroy termite infestations, which is not something that is easily understood by many. By their nature, this insect lives inside of wood where the insects slowly extract the cellulose of the wood leading to rot and decay. Since the insects have to create exit holes to move in and out of the wood, fumigation gas can enter these holes and poison the entire colony. 

Fumigation is important because it is always available as a last resort when nothing else seems to work. 

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How Long Does Fumigation Take?

The length of time it takes for fumigation to completely eradicate an infestation depends upon the size of the infestation and the unit being treated. It also depends on whether the source of the infestation is properly identified and been dealt with in the first instance. For example, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate and can live deep within the cracks and crevices of your mattress. They can even be brought back into your property by a friend, neighbor, or pet.

Finally, it is important you use preventative methods to stop pests from re-entering your property. Rodent and termite proofing your property is a sure-fire way to prevent an infestation or a problem from recurring. From sealing gaps to cleaning down work surfaces and moving bird feeders away from the house, prevention is always better than cure. 

The true length of time of the entire fumigation process, including preparation, the gas spread, and aeration to safely remove the gas from the home, can run anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. Depending on the amount and type of chemical gas used, a home may need to aerate and ventilate up to a week to ensure the chemical has fully dissipated and neutralized. 

How Long Does Fumigation Last?

The chemicals used within the fumigant gas are not meant to be residual insecticides. The gas will kill all insects or rodents upon contact through inhalation. The fumigant does not bind to or settle onto surfaces and must be expelled from inside the structure through aeration. 

Therefore, the fumigation will last as long as it remains inside of the structure. Depending on the problem pest, fumigators will typically keep the gas trapped inside the structure for a certain amount of time to ensure all the pests are killed upon contact throughout every bit of the structure’s framework. 

Methods of Fumigation

Exactly how fumigation is administered, and what the consistency of the gas being used is are common questions in the fumigation process. The methods for fumigation will typically consist of the various types of chemicals that are used within the gas, and the type of foggers that are used. Additionally, it is also important to take a look at exactly how the tenting process with fumigation works. 

Fumigation with Vikane

When properly applied, Vikane gas fumigant can penetrate the entire infested area of the home to eliminate target pests without damaging property or leaving behind a residue. When the Vikane process is completed, your home will be ventilated to ensure no fumigant remains. Sensitive equipment is used to ensure the air inside the home has returned to normal.

The key to treatment with Vikane gas fumigant is that it penetrates all voids of a home, including deep behind walls and in bedding and upholstered furniture to reach insects and their eggs. In contrast, an insecticide treatment may not reach deep into those areas or simply cannot be used in televisions, computers, or other electronics where insects like bed bugs can hide

As previously mentioned, fumigation turns your entire house into a kill zone; the termites have nowhere to escape to. This needs to be done on a wide scale since termites can burrow deep inside the wood of the furniture to escape the gas. When fumigation is consistent for a long period, the gas will eventually seep into all the voids inside the home and kill the colony.

Vikane Tent Fumigation Risks

The risks associated with Vikane gas are substantial, however, there is nothing to worry about granted the fumigation is properly administered and waiting times are adhered to. 

Vikane gas is heavily concentrated with sulfuryl fluoride, which is a severe central nervous system antagonist for most living things, especially insects. The gas attacks the central nervous system with greater intensity than standard, over-the-counter pyrethroid insecticides. 

Increased exposure to Vikane gas with humans and pets can lead to seizures and even death if the gas is inhaled in as little as minutes. 

As mentioned, these concerns are only ever a problem for the pests that the gas is targeting. The tenting process ensures that the gas is contained inside of the home, and the aeration process safely removes the gas once it can be determined that all pests have been adequately exposed to it within the home. 

With this in mind, it is absolutely crucial that you do not return to your home until you are given the all-clear by the administering technicians. There is special equipment that fumigators use to check the air quality inside the home during the aeration process. Once the tests confirm normal indoor air quality, the home is safe to return to. 

Vikane Fumigation Preparation

You will have to fully prepare your home before the fumigation process. If you are receiving a Vikane treatment, the fumigators will give you paperwork that reads like a checklist of things you must do. An important thing to do before fumigation is to make accommodation arrangements for family and pets. 

Be sure to block areas where pets might hide in/under structures and schedule shut-off and post-fumigation restoration of your gas service at least 48 hours in advance.

In some areas, three to five days’ notice may be required. Make arrangements for cars and vehicles that may need to be parked away from the structure and make security arrangements if needed for your home. Hold your mail service if needed. 

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Chemicals for Fumigation

Since there are multiple types of fumigation treatments through the tenting process, different companies may wish to use different chemicals. This decision will be largely based on the type of pest and the coverage of the infestation inside the structure. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common chemicals used in fumigation. 

Fumigation with methyl bromide

Methyl bromide is a pesticide that is commonly used in rodent eradication. The compound works by attacking the neurological system of rodents and insects, with increased respiratory distress as well. This compound is typically only used in fumigation for the eradication of rats such as rats or mice. 

Fumigation with phosphine

Phosphine is a compound that is used in fumigation where there are concerns for the safety of food establishments, such as restaurants. This gas targets and constricts the respiratory systems in both insects and rodents, ensuring death within minutes of exposure. Fumigation with phosphine gas is more common for commercial fumigation jobs as opposed to residential fumigation. 

Fumigation with formaldehyde 

Formaldehyde is an incredibly powerful and toxic gas that is also sometimes used for fumigation jobs requiring a severe and powerful contact kill for difficult pests. It is rare to find fumigation services that will use formaldehyde alone, but it can be common for some fumigants to contain small amounts of the compound to ensure the rapid and effective killing of pests. 

Sulfuryl fluoride fumigation

Sulfuryl fluoride is one of the most common fumigant gases used in fumigation procedures. This is the primary compound used in Vikane gas tenting treatments. This compound attacks the central nervous system of both insects and rodents and is also attractive due to its quick dissipation times. 

Ethylene oxide fumigation

Another powerful type of fumigant compound is ethylene oxide, which is both a central nervous system antagonist to pests, as well as a sterilizing agent. This compound may be of choice to some fumigators if the home also needs to be sterilized during the pest killing process, such as with rodent infestations. 

Fumigation with formalin

Formalin is the primary compound that is also responsible for the synthesis of formaldehyde. Formalin is extremely toxic and a known carcinogen, and is only used for fumigation in the rarest of circumstances. 

Chlorine dioxide fumigation

Chlorine dioxide is another rarely used type of compound that can be used in fumigation. This compound, when used as a fumigant, can be a very powerful weapon against mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria, which is a consideration for homeowners frequently battling mold outbreaks inside the home. 

Hydrogen peroxide fumigation

For a generally low-toxicity fumigation application, hydrogen peroxide can be used if homeowners are concerned about potent chemicals inside the home. With that said, hydrogen peroxide when used as gas is an effective pesticide, but for pests such as bed bugs, this is likely not a good idea. 

Fumigation with aluminum phosphide

Aluminum phosphide is another generally low-toxicity pesticide fumigant. This compound works well with moisture and attacks the central nervous system of insects. This is not a good choice for rodents since the compound causes only mild side effects in mammals. 

Fogger Machine for Fumigation

During the home or business fumigation process, industrial-grade fogging machines that run off of pressurized chemical tanks are used. Multiple foggers will be set up throughout the house depending on the size of the unit. 

The foggers continuously pump out the chemical for hours on end, which allows the fumigant to settle into the atmosphere and begin to seep into any insect or rodent entry and exit holes located at all points throughout the structure. 

Types of Fumigation

It is easier to discuss the true efficiency of fumigation if the particular pest in question is compared against the fumigation process. Each type of pest will respond to fumigation differently, and there are some common pests that fumigation is not very effective against. Let’s take a closer look. 

Fumigation for Bed Bugs

Although this process represents one of the best ways to completely eliminate this insect type, there are a few different methods that can be tried before the necessity of tenting. DIY methods can tackle smaller infestations, although even with small infestations, the process takes time and patience. The process of heating a unit to the required temperatures to instantly kill the insects is also an option. 

Whatever method you choose, it is crucial to completely eliminate these parasites from your dwelling. Ignoring the problem will only cause the colony to grow larger and larger. 

Using fumigants on a large scale can very well destroy infestations in one fell swoop. This can eliminate the anguish of having to wait weeks for any lesser treatment procedures to address the problem.

There are many companies that offer this service and by contacting a service provider, a full consultation can be undertaken to fully assess, explain, and analyze the process before commitment. There are other options to consider, but the peace of mind that comes with one process cannot be overstated enough.

How Much Does Fumigation Cost?

Bed bug fumigation costs can vary widely due to different structural factors. Bed bug fumigation can be a costly procedure, although it is certainly well worth the investment. The process for fumigating a home is quite expansive and requires the use of a substantial amount of chemicals and equipment. The tenting process is also time-consuming. 

On average, the process can range anywhere between $2,500 to upwards of $50,000 based upon the size of the unit as well as the size of the infestation. If the thought of the insects crawling on you or the pain of bed bug bites is causing mental anguish, this process has a very high rate of success.

This particular bug is overwhelmingly difficult to eradicate, therefore, a process that seeks to target all hiding areas may be necessary to destroy the infestation.

Tent Fumigation for Bed Bugs Survival Rates

Even with the most effective treatment procedures, it can still be difficult to get rid of bed bugs. This process strives to cover virtually every corridor and crevice within a home, yet control of bed bugs can be complicated based upon the ability of the insects to crawl into areas where poison or heat cannot reach. This is why it is crucially important to follow all preparations before a bed bug treatment begins. 

In order for the process to be effective, be sure to launder all clothing and fabrics in high heat settings. This will ensure that all bugs living in the fabric will be killed as well as eggs.

Once all clothing is laundered, the materials should be enclosed in sealed bags or containers to prevent the bugs from entering the containers. 

All miscellaneous items should be stored in containers and treated with pest strips to destroy any hiding bugs that may be able to hide from fumigants. Make sure your home is virtually empty beyond furniture to make the space as limited as possible for hiding places. Ensure that all drawers are empty and open as well as all doors. The fumigant will then be able to easily pass through and engulf all structures within the home.

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Fumigation for Cockroaches

Like bed bugs, cockroaches are a pest that survives largely by hiding throughout inaccessible areas within a home or business. These areas include behind walls, underneath baseboards, behind and underneath large appliances, and even inside of furniture and appliances. 

In these areas, the cockroaches will set up nests where females will lay eggs at a rapid rate. Since so many cockroaches can emerge from one egg sac, this ensures that the pests will grow to enormous quantities inside of a structure. 

This pest should never be allowed to thrive due to the possibility of pathogens and diseases spreading throughout all of the surfaces inside of your home. 

Tent fumigation for roaches

There are many ways to kill cockroaches, and if an infestation is small enough, many of these methods will probably work. But it can sometimes be difficult for home or business owners to know the severity of a cockroach problem due to the hiding behaviors of the pest. When cockroaches overtake a structure, it can be nearly similar to the scale of eradicating bed bugs due to the elusive nature of roaches. 

When this happens, tenting fumigation is probably the most superior method to destroy an entire cockroach infestation, no matter how big or small. Fumigant gas has the ability to saturate into all the hiding places of cockroaches, and will even kill all live egg sacs in these areas as well. 

Roach fumigation cost

As with all other pests and fumigation, the cost of cockroach fumigation depends on the size of the infestation when compared to the size of the structure. You could be looking at anything from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. One thing is assured: fumigation will most likely destroy the infestation completely in one go. 

Fumigation for Termites

Termite fumigation seeks to address the root causes of what makes termites thrive. Termites eat wood which contains cellulose – their primary food source. Termites can also eat paper products and wood types that are processed together. Redwood and cedarwood are generally repellent types of wood to termites. Cellulose and moisture are the primary termite attractants and this is evenly the same with the three most common termite types.

By knowing exactly what drives termites to infest and then thrive, a pest control professional who exclusively specializes in termites will base their eradication and prevention methods around the sources that support the termite life cycle. One of the most common methods exterminators will use for major infestations is fumigation. 

A house that has become infested with termites can certainly be saved, but there are some considerations to take into account if the damage already caused is extensive. The first line of defense is obviously to eradicate termites from your home and safeguard your home from future infestations. If you choose to address the problem on your own, it will take a lot of work, but it is certainly feasible.

It is also important to remember that the structural damage caused by the termites will also need to be addressed. Eliminate, repair, and prevent is the process that a termite exterminator will follow with skilled precision. Using penetrative fumigation methods that are only available in the pest control professional sphere, automatically makes hiring a professional a higher standard for elimination than any product available for purchase.

Termite specialists begin their fumigation process by first using elimination procedures to stop the patterns that are allowing a colony to thrive.

Tent Fumigation for Termites

After discovering termite evidence in your home, you will need to consider how you would like to address killing them. Having a lot of wood structures both in your home and within the framework allows a lot more room to maneuver for the infesting termites and fumigation becomes a much more attractive process since the entire home be fully enclosed during the termite boat tenting process, with no escape to the ground below. 

Fumigation for termites works by enclosing the home in a durable tent and administering a powerful chemical in the form of gas for several hours; this can only be done properly by a pest control professional.

For termites, the settling process may be longer since the gas will need to seep through all the entry and exit holes inside of the wood that termites have infested. Exterminators may also administer a larger amount of gas for a termite infestation simply for this reason. 

Like bed bugs, termites are largely hidden and not out in the open, therefore, the fumigation process needs to be more potent and longer-lasting for full saturation. 

Termite Fumigation Cost

The cost for termite fumigation will depend upon how large the infestation is and how much product will be needed to completely eradicate a colony. If the infestation is caused by subterranean termites, additional pest control procedures will likely be needed since this species travels back and forth from underground tunnels outside into the infested wood indoors.  

Best time of year for termite fumigation

Like bed bugs, termites are year-round pests with no limits on warm or cold months guiding their behaviors or life cycle. You can therefore fumigate for termites anytime during the year. It may be beneficial to undergo termite fumigation during the spring since this is when colony numbers will be lower and eggs will be hatching. 

Fumigation for Fleas

Another pest that is well-controlled by fumigation is fleas. These parasitic insects reproduce and lay eggs at about the same frequency as cockroaches. Fleas can infest carpeting, all fabrics, including drapes, bedding, and furniture. 

Due to the severity of flea reproduction, and the constant biting of the insects, common methods for flea removal like vacuuming and applying spray insecticides may not be enough. For these types of infestations, tenting fumigation has very high success rates in eradicating fleas from a home. 

The gas can penetrate all the areas in which fleas nest and also destroy their eggs in the process. 

Flea fumigation bomb

Flea bombs or ‘foggers’ are commonly used for flea infestations and yes, foggers can work on low to moderate flea infestations. You should choose a formula that was specifically created for flea populations. You will get some instant relief from any type of fogger because they will at least kill visible populations immediately. If you are going to use a flea bomb, be sure to get one that offers a strong residual, such as the formula found in Hot Shot

This is an important feature when you want to get rid of fleas because they reproduce so quickly. If you cannot kill the eggs and larvae, you will not be able to prevent the next generation from infesting your home. These pests definitely have a vicious life cycle. Look for a Hot Shot fogger formula that contains Nylar since this active ingredient is known to kill fleas and their eggs and continues to work for seven months after the first use.

Flea fumigation cost

If you do not get results out of using a flea bomb, you should seriously consider tent fumigation to destroy a flea infestation. The cost can range from $500 to upwards of a few thousand dollars depending on the size of your home. 

DIY fumigation for fleas: does it work?

Sometimes, DIY methods can be enough to destroy a flea population. The number of treatments you will need to eliminate fleas will depend on several factors. A general flea fogger will treat most common household insects in one use, provided there is no visible infestation and this has not been an ongoing problem. Recurring infestations of any insect population are more difficult to treat than their first appearance.

The second consideration regarding the number of treatments required is your total square footage. Each canister of Hot Shot flea fogger can treat up to 2,000 square feet of indoor space. For recurrent infestations or very serious infestations, additional treatments may be required.

The most effective way to handle these situations is not by using more than the recommended number of foggers on the initial treatment. 

Instead, use one canister per room as directed. Repeat the treatment within 2-4 weeks after the initial treatment. This method ensures that you are capturing all biting fleas before they reach the adult stage. The initial treatment will kill the adults, but it is impossible to tell how many generations of eggs are still nestled in the home. Repeated treatments will eliminate the problem and protect against recurrent infestations.

In all honesty, totally eliminating an insect population through DIY after it has infiltrated your home can be a daunting process. A methodical approach is the best option to resolve the issue and prevent another infestation of fleas from the same generation. Be patient and diligent about regular treatments and be sure to follow all directions as printed on the can by the manufacturer.

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Fumigation for Flies

Any sort of flying insect is generally not a good candidate for fumigation. But if you have an infestation of flies inside of your home, you can consider tenting fumigation, but it is likely easier and cheaper to get rid of a fly infestation on your own.

If you have an indoor fly infestation, there is some sort of attractant keeping the flies fed and also serving as their breeding ground. Indoors, this is commonly found to be a backed-up garbage disposal, rotted food you may not be aware of, such as rotted produce or starchy products somewhere inside of a pantry, or a clogged sink. 

You can remove the attractant and sanitize the area, and then use bug zappers or sticky traps to destroy the indoor infestation of adult flies. But if you want a quick and efficient method, tenting fumigation will certainly get the job done. 

Fumigation for Spiders

Spiders are a perfect candidate for tenting fumigation. Although these arachnids are not as prone to setting up indoor infestations when compared to indoor insects, a spider infestation can occur if the arachnids are left alone and not controlled. 

Spiders generally like to hide and stay out of the way of people, so fumigant gas is a good method to use as it can seep into all of these hiding spots no matter how well-hidden the spiders could be. 

Alternatively, and if you know where spiders are hiding inside of your home, you can consider using a spider fumigation bomb or fogger to concentrate the chemical gas in one area or one room. 

 

It may also help to try outdoor spider fumigation with a general handheld fogger since spiders come into homes from the outside. Apply the fog to all entry points and cracks and crevices. 

Fumigation for Ants

Ants are an interesting species of pest since tenting fumigation seems to have lower success rates with ants when compared to some of the more difficult indoor pests. This is because ants are very resilient creatures, and are equipped to withstand commonly used eradication methods against them. 

But tenting fumigation can certainly address an indoor ant infestation. Ants can easily crawl outside of the home, therefore, fumigators will ensure that all points of exit for the pests are sealed off before the fumigation process begins. 

Ant fumigation cost

The cost for ant fumigation is usually a bit lower when compared to something like bed bug or termite fumigation. Ants are usually only temporary indoor pests and do not prefer to set up residence indoors unless there are numerous potted plants or other vegetation inside. 

Fumigation for Rats

Tenting fumigation can be used to destroy a rat infestation inside a home or business. Fumigators will typically use chemicals that attack the respiratory system of the rodents ensuring death. 

Does fumigation kill rats?

Yes, fumigation kills all indoor rats within minutes of exposure. The clean-up process is a bit more extensive for rodents due to their anatomy and the possibility of the spread of diseases and pathogens. 

Rat fumigation cost is dependent on the size of the rat infestation as well as the size of the structure and the spread of rat colonies and nests throughout all the areas of the home. The fumigation chemicals for rats can also be fairly potent, and the cleanup for rats may take a bit longer when compared to insects. 

Fumigation to Kill Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are typically not a pest associated with indoor infestations. But fumigation through foggers is one of the main ways in which mosquito populations are controlled. DIY fumigation for mosquitoes is the best method to take. For a small area in your yard that needs only a brief elimination of flying insects such as mosquitoes, a traditional or smaller ULV fogger is perfectly fine. 

But, if you want to take mosquito fogging to the next level and wipe out mosquitoes in a massive volume, then a commercial mosquito fogger is your best bet. 

The commercial foggers generally work in the same way as engine-based foggers, but their motor and ULV capacity is equipped to fog areas as large as parks, sizable backyards, and even heavily wooded areas. They are one of the only ways you can eradicate mosquitoes in a large radius for days at a time. 

The benefits of going commercial are that you can crank up the heavy-duty, powerful fogger and completely saturate your entire yard to create a mosquito-free zone in a short amount of time. 

Depending on the chemical you decide to use in a commercial fogger, these units can also create a long-lasting residual both within the air and on the surfaces of your yard. The fog emitted by a commercial fogger, especially a commercial unit with ULV fogging, will create a thick, dense layer of chemicals in a large radius, resulting in a true fog as compared to a brief mist. 

This is especially beneficial if you live in areas that are moist or humid, as these are the regions where mosquitoes typically thrive and spread potentially life-threatening diseases. Because the fog that is produced from industrial-grade foggers is highly concentrated and thick, you will want to try and control the fog in mosquito-specific areas only.

A great commercial mosquito fogger to consider is the Longray Compact Thermal Fogger

The highlight of this unit is found in its ability to produce cleaner emissions through its highly durable filters. This is particularly attractive if you wish to fog in areas that are enclosed with little to no ventilation. This product lives up to its name and can be used with relative ease on your part due to its smaller size.

Natural fumigation for mosquitoes

Citronella and neem oil placed inside of a handheld fogger are good natural choices to use to repel mosquitoes. Although these essential oils will not likely kill the mosquitoes, fogging the areas around your home in the morning and early evening offer a great way to keep the biting pests away. 

fumigation in park
Image credit: anvmedia, Deposit Photos

How to Prepare for Fumigation: FAQs

 

How do I prepare my house for fumigation?

An important thing to do before fumigation is to make accommodation arrangements for family and pets. Be sure to block areas where pets might hide in/under structures and schedule shut-off and post-fumigation restoration of your gas service at least 48 hours in advance.

In some areas, three to five days’ notice may be required. Make arrangements for cars and vehicles that may need to be parked away from the structure and make security arrangements if needed for your home. Hold your mail service if needed. 

What needs to be bagged during fumigation?

The best way to think about bagging for fumigation is to go through your home and bag up all items, such as foods and medications, that are taken orally. Be sure to bag up and remove all pet food that isn’t canned or unopened. 

You do not need to remove or bag any food, feed, drugs, tobacco products, and medicines if sealed in glass, plastic, or metal bottles, jars, or cans with the original manufacturer’s airtight seal intact (examples: unopened 2-liter soda/pop, liquor, beer or wine bottles).

You also do not need to remove dental hygiene products (including toothpaste, mouthwash, dental adhesives, and whitening products). Shampoo and soaps, as well as cosmetics, including lipstick, and all externally applied lotions and ointments. You can keep these inside your home, granting you to bag and seal these products in nylofume bags that will be provided to you by the administering pest control company. 

What to do with clothes during fumigation?

You do not have to worry about removing the clothes inside of your home during the fumigation process. The fumigant used will fully dissipate from clothing granted proper aeration procedures are undertaken after the administration of the fumigant is allowed to destroy the interior pest infestation. 

If you feel more secure with protecting your clothes, you can place each piece of clothing inside of a nylofume bag, but this will be fairly time-consuming. If you are having fumigation administered for a bed bug infestation, you need to ensure that all clothing and fabrics inside of the house are laundered on the highest heat setting and sealed inside contractor bags on sealed containers. 

This is because bed bugs can hide deep within the folds of the fabric, and the gas may not be able to seep into all of the folds and seams of fabrics. 

What to do with pets during fumigation?

You must remove all pets from the home prior to fumigation. If you cannot take your pets with you to a temporary lodging accommodation, look into boarding dogs or cats with a kennel during the fumigation and aeration process. 

If you have pets such as hamsters or reptiles, make sure you find some sort of arrangement for these pets as they cannot stay within the home. The gas will almost certainly kill any pet that is left behind. 

What to do with fish during fumigation?

Any fish or aquatic pets will also need to be removed from the home as they cannot survive the gas. You should be okay taking fish with you to wherever you have decided to stay to wait out the fumigation process. Be sure to check with hotel staff or the staff of where you are staying to make sure it will be okay to keep your fish with you. 

What to do with the mattress during fumigation?

Your mattress will be fine during the fumigation process, and you should ensure that all bedding is stripped from the mattress, laundered, and stored to ensure that any hiding pests on or inside the mattress can also be exposed to the fumigant. 

Keep in mind that if you have any plastic coverings over mattresses or any furniture, this will need to be removed before fumigation since fumigant gas can possibly become trapped inside the plastic and will not properly aerate. 

Do cosmetics need to be bagged during fumigation?

You can choose to remove all your cosmetics from the home if you like or, you can simply seal cosmetics inside of a nylofume bag to ensure protection during fumigation. Any cosmetics that you may have that have not been opened should be fine being left out during the fumigation process. 

Mosquito fogging spray
Image credit: Chinnapong, Deposit Photos

Do I need to provide fumigation notice to neighbors?

Providing notice to your neighbor’s that you will be fumigating is largely regulated by an individual state’s rules. Since tenting is safe when performed by a licensed company, and there is no easy way for pests to escape and immediately crawl into a neighbor’s house, there is really nothing to fear from the fumigation process. 

Depending on your state’s regulations, it is really up to you rather you want to alert neighbor’s or not. This can be a common courtesy you can provide your neighbor’s, but the choice is usually yours. 

Do I need to provide fumigation notice to tenants?

Yes, you must give your tenants notice if a building is to be fumigated. Your fumigation provider will likely have brochures or fliers you can give all tenants to let them know what needs to be removed from the unit etc. 

The amount of notice depends largely on state rules and regulations, but the most common amount of notice that would still be acceptable is at least 48 hours prior to the fumigation. Tenants have to be able to make temporary accommodations and to ensure they remove everything that needs to be removed from their unit. 

How long should you stay out of the house?

Fumigation depends on the amount of fumigant needed to destroy an infestation and the size of the house. 72 hours is the typical amount of time for an entire fumigation process. This allows the chemicals enough time to penetrate throughout the structure to kill pests, and time for the home to completely aerate to remove all traces of fumigant gas. 

Severe infestations and large units will take longer, and these types of fumigations can last as long as a week. Your provider will tell you the time frame after a thorough inspection of the pest problem. 

How long after fumigation is it safe for pets?

The timeframe provided for fumigation takes into account both people and pets. The away time is all about ensuring that the air inside of the home is 100% free of fumigant gas, which your provider will periodically test with special equipment after the necessary time has passed to ensure pest eradication. 

Some homeowners also feel a bit more secure by mopping and wiping down all surfaces around the home since pets such as dogs can be very free with their tongues. 

Can I use toilet paper after fumigation?

Toilet paper that may have been left out during the fumigation process should be thrown away since this product provides direct contact to the body. Toilet paper that may have been unopened inside of a factory-sealed container is fine to use. Make sure you take all toiletries with you before fumigation or seal opened toiletries inside of a nylofume bag.  

How to prevent break-ins after fumigation?

Once the fumigation part of the process is complete, the home will then need to aerate for a set amount of time, anywhere from 48 hours to one week. You will want to make sure that your home is secured during this time since break-ins can be very random and common if thieves notice tenting during fumigation. 

Always remove all valuable items from the home before fumigation takes place. If you have a security system, make sure it is active, and remember to provide the details to the pest control company administering the fumigation–they are going to need it during the job.

You can also ask neighbors to keep a lookout on your home during the aeration process and to watch for any suspicious activity. If you have a community watch, you can also ask that a special eye be kept on your property during the fumigation process.  

Car Fumigation

We have talked a great deal about fumigation for homes or businesses, but what about fumigation for vehicles? 

Pest control fumigation can be performed on vehicles as well to remove any sort of pest infestation within the interior of the car. Let’s take a look at the process. 

Bug Fumigation for Cars

The same process can be used for a car, and this type of fumigation will obviously go a lot quicker than what is seen with a home or business. 

A pest control company will tell you how you should prep the car, and then apply fumigation chemicals into the car that will then be sealed with tapering to enclose the car with the chemicals. The aeration process will likely go a lot quicker, possibly within 6 to 24 hours after the fumigant has had time to kill all the pests. 

Car Fumigation Bomb

Alternatively, due to the smaller size of a car, a fogger or bug bomb could possibly be effective enough to destroy a pest problem inside of a car. The same risks are involved though, chiefly that foggers and bug bombs may not penetrate deep enough into the upholstery to kill all pests hiding throughout the interior of the car.

fumigation in park
Image credit: anvmedia, Deposit Photos

 

Professional Fumigation

Some common questions to ask a fumigation company are something we would like to see more of in the pest control industry. During my work, I have found that many people simply do not understand how professional pest control differs from store-bought DIY measures, and those differences are very substantial. 

In this section, I will answer some common questions that I receive about pest control and the fumigation process in particular. Hopefully, these questions and answers will provide you with a closer look at how professional pest control and fumigation works in general. 

Q: Does professional pest control take longer than DIY methods?

The most common question I get asked regarding professional pest control treatments is for how long they will last. Unfortunately, there is no one given answer for this, because it depends on a variety of factors. Some pests such as silverfish and ants require regular treatment to keep them away, whilst a squirrel is likely to be a one-off situation. Bait boxes and traps should be checked regularly for signs of activity.

It also depends on whether the source of the infestation is properly identified and been dealt with in the first instance. For example, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate and can live deep within the cracks and crevices of your mattress. They can even be brought back into your property by a friend, neighbor, or pet.

Finally, it is important you use preventative methods to stop pests from re-entering your property. Rodent and termite proofing your property is a sure-fire way to prevent an infestation or a problem from recurring. From sealing gaps to cleaning down work surfaces and moving bird feeders away from the house, prevention is always better than cure. 

For more tips on this, I suggest reading my blogs on how to stop a rat infestation and how to repel bed bugs. That said, professional services like fumigation are more potent than DIY, so you can expect your treatment to last significantly longer.

Q: What is the exact cost of fumigation service?

How much will you pay for a good night’s sleep, to save your business’s reputation or just to rest easy in your own home? Paying out for professional pest control fumigation treatment can seem expensive, however, if left untreated, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in home pest repairs.

Some companies will offer a monthly payment plan to include an initial fumigation treatment and follow-up visits, while some won’t even take payment until your pests have gone. The type of pest you have also determined how much the process will cost. Bed bugs tend to be more persistent so often require multiple fumigation treatments whereas rats and mice are fairly straightforward when it comes to immediately being poisoned by the gas. The cost can vary between $500 to $5,000 but severe infestations which require fumigation can cost $1000s.

While each company is different, a good piece of advice I can provide is to judge the severity and scale of the infestation. Is it one room or area, or are you seeing the pests all over the home or business? How large is your home or business? The cost is going to be composed of both severity and total area and length. 

Summary: Why Fumigation Is Worth It

Having been in the pest control industry for decades there are many reasons why I believe hiring professional pest control fumigation experts is invaluable.

While some DIY foggers or ‘bombs’ can be effective in eradicating small infestations, if you have a chronic invasion, your pest situation can soon spiral and become very serious. Although the initial investment of hiring a professional pest company for fumigation may appear more expensive, it often ends up being the cheaper alternative. Off-the-shelf bombers and foggers are not as effective and it may take a number of attempts to see any real results.

Thus, continuing to buy in-store products soon gets expensive. The potential damage a pest can cause to your business reputation and even your home can be extensive, and you may not even notice immediately. By employing an experienced and knowledgeable fumigation exterminator quickly can lead to the identification and resolution of your pest problems for good, without anyone needing to know.

Fumigation handles the problem in one fell swoop. 

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Mike Henderson
Mike Henderson

Mike is a pest control operator from New York with over 15 years experience dealing with a wide range of pests. He shares his knowledge on this blog and provides useful information to help you combat pests on your own.

For severe infestations and professional advice you can also request a free pest control quote here.

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