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A residential property in Los Angeles, subject to tent fumigation or "tenting".

Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides—or fumigants—to suffocate or poison the pests within. It is utilized for control of pests in buildings (structural fumigation), soil, grain, and produce, and is also used during processing of goods to be imported or exported to prevent transfer of exotic organisms. This method also affects the structure itself, affecting pests that inhabit the physical structure, such as woodborers and drywood termites.[1]



Fumigation usually involves the following phases: First the area to be fumigated is usually covered to create a sealed environment; next the fumigant is released into the space to be fumigated; then, the space is held for a set period while the fumigant gas percolates through the space and acts on and kills any infestation in the product, next the space is ventilated so that the poisonous gases are allowed to escape from the space, and render it safe for humans to enter.

Tent fumigation (Tenting)

Structural fumigating techniques differ from building to building, but in houses a rubber tent is often placed over the entire house while the pesticides are being released into the vacant residence. This process is called tent fumigation or "tenting". The sealed tent concentrates the poisonous gases and prevents them from escaping into the neighborhood. The process can take up to a week depending on the fumigant used, which in turn depend on the severity of infestation and size of the building.


Methyl bromide was among the most widely used fumigants until its production and use was restricted by the Montreal Protocol due to its role in the theory of ozone depletion.[2][3]

Widely used fumigants include:


Fumigation is a hazardous operation. Generally it is a legal requirement that the operator, carrying out the fumigation operation, holds official certification to perform the fumigation as the chemicals used are toxic to most forms of life, including humans.[1]

Post operation ventilation of the area is a critical safety aspect of fumigation. It is important to distinguish between the pack or source of the fumigant gas and the environment which has been fumigated. While the fumigant pack may be safe and spent, the space will still hold the fumigant gas until it has been ventilated.

See also

Early publication

  • W. G. Johnson, Fumigation Methods (New York, 1902)


  1. ^ a b Baur, Fred. Insect Management for Food Storage and Processing. American Ass. of Cereal Chemists. pp. 162–165. ISBN 0913250384. 
  2. ^ Messenger, Belinda; Braun, Adolf (2000). "Alternatives to Methyl Bromide for the Control of Soil-Borne Diseases and Pests in California". Pest Management Analysis and Planning Program. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  3. ^ Decanio; Norman, Catherine S. (2008 first = Stephen J.). "Economics of the "Critical Use" of Methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol". Contemporary Economic Policy 23 (3): 376–393. doi:10.1093/cep/byi028. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FUMIGATION (from Lat. fumigare, to smoke), the process of producing smoke or fumes, as by burning sulphur, frankincense, tobacco, &c., whether as a ceremony of incantation, or for perfuming a room, or for purposes of disinfection or destruction of vermin. In medicine the term has been used of the exposure of the body, or a portion of it, to fumes such as those of nitre, sal-ammoniac, mercury, &c.; fumigation, by the injection of tobacco smoke into the great bowel, was a recognized procedure in the 18th century for the resuscitation of the apparently drowned. "Fumigated" or "fumed" oak is oak which has been darkened by exposure to ammonia vapour.

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Simple English

Fumigation is the making of toxic fumes. It may be done for several reasons. The most common use is to kill insects that hide in various places in a house or other building. There are a few steps to fumigate. First, the house or room is sealed. Then the fumigant (substance making fumes) is placed in the area. Then the fumigant is left to flow through the area. Finally, the fumigant is released before the people move back in. The gases are very toxic and the person fumigating has to make sure no one goes into the fumigation area or they might get poisoned.

See also

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