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Fumigation is a method of pest control that uses a toxic gas to exterminate pests in an enclosed space. The space is sealed to prevent the gas escaping to areas that are not being treated, for environmental and public safety, and to keep the gas at the required concentration for the appropriate time to be effective.

Fumigants are used to exterminate exotic pests in a wide range of environments such as:

  • Ship holds
  • Grain stores
  • Shipping containers
  • Whole buildings
  • Food processing equipment.

It is also used to protect many types of goods and objects, including:

  • Commodities
  • Goods that require treatment for inter-government import or export control and
  • Smaller objects such as museum items that need preserving without damage.

A range of gases is used according to the type of fumigation, their labelled requirements and the regulations in each country.

Regulatory Compliance and Best Practice

Pest Act’s unrivalled regulatory expertise ensures the fumigation chemicals and the services we provide are used safely and comply with necessary legislation and industry best practice in all business sectors and countries we operate in.

Pest Act is accredited to operate fumigation services in countries where we operate. We also follow voluntary Codes of Best Practice for the safe and sustainable use of products determined by bodies such as RAMPS (Register of Accredited Metallic Phosphide Standards) for safe fumigation.

Shipping Fumigation

Shipping fumigation involves the treatment of the hold of a ship, either full of a commodity or empty, or the treatment of certain areas within the superstructure of the ship itself. The majority of shipping fumigation is done while the vessel is in port. However, under certain government requirements and permits “fumigation in-transit” is permitted where the vessel’s holds are treated during the voyage.

Treating exports

With exports, the holds of the ship have to be inspected for cleanliness and insect activity prior to loading. If any pest activity is found, fumigation treatment may be required. The product going into the hold may also be infected, which could require fumigation treatment.

Treating imports

With imports, the consignment may have been infected prior to loading offshore and as part of import requirements, the consignment (as well as the vessel itself) must be pest and disease free.

Container Fumigation

Container fumigation is the treatment of a commodity in a standard shipping container or the empty container itself to eliminate pests and remove the risk of pests or diseases from entering or leaving a country.

Pallets, Wooden racks and other packing material are all covered under exports fumigation services.

Silo Fumigation

Silo fumigation is an effective method for treating large amounts of grain during storage in a silo. It is a viable, alternative service to shipping or container fumigation and can be done at a lower cost due to the volume of most silos.

The silo must meet protocols for the product to be suitable for treatment within it. It is recommended that silos are inspected every time before use, because SILO or warehouse fumigation is an expert’s job.

Building Fumigation

Whole-building fumigation is used when an infestation of a pest in buildings such as homes and offices is severe and alternative pest eradication measures are not sufficient. The whole building is covered in a tent or all entry and exit points sealed depending on the construction of the building to contain the fumigation gases.

Pests that may require whole-building fumigation include:

  • Termites
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Bed bugs

The fumigation gas is introduced for the required time, so that it penetrates all parts of the building that the pest has infested. The gas is then ventilated from the tent to enable the building to be reoccupied.


Stack fumigation involves the tar pining of goods or commodities under a gas-proof tarp. The tarp is then sealed to the ground via a number of methods to ensure the gas level is maintained under the tarp.

Stacks can range in size from less than 1 cubic meter to over 1000 cubic meters. In theory all fumigation conducted under a gas proof tarp is considered the stack fumigation.

Pest Act’s treatment has proved successful in cereal mills, bakeries, confectionery plants, animal feed mills, grain and seed storage facilities and for treating some museum artefacts.

Chamber Fumigation

A fumigation chamber is a purpose-built structure, normally containing solid walls, used primarily to conduct fumigations. Chambers are normally fitted with built-in circulation and extraction equipment. A fumigation chamber must be pressure tested every 6 months to ensure it is still fit for purpose.

Fumigation Gases allowed in India

Methyl Bromide (for all export shipments)

Methyl bromide fumigation was a globally significant disinfestation treatment for many years. It has a reputation for effectiveness against a wide range of pests, which are noted on the relevant labels, and became the most common fumigant.

In recent years, however, methyl bromide has been identified as a major ozone depleting chemical. In late 2004, methyl bromide was removed as a fumigant for use in any area other than quarantine and pre-shipment applications under the Montreal Protocol. The implications of this are that, for general fumigation purposes, there is not a fumigant that has a 24-hour effective duration.

The use of methyl bromide is banned in all EU countries but is still used outside of the EU in authorised countries for quarantine and pre-shipment purposes.

Aluminium Phosphide (For domestic storage, warehouses, SILOS, Stacks etc)

AlP is also known as Phosphine, AlP fumigation is a simple, cost-effective method of eliminating Stored Product Insect Pests (SPIs) such as beetles, weevils, mites and moths in bulk commodities. It is also used to control rats on farms and moles in horticultural environments.

Stored Product Insects can infest bulk commodities such as cocoa, rice, nuts and animal feed, and also other raw materials used for food and feed manufacture.

  • Phosphine is an accepted treatment for most bulk food produce including cereals, grains, dried fruit, nuts, rice, cocoa and coffee beans.
  • It eliminates all life cycle stages of the target pest and has the advantages of being non-tainting and leaving no pesticide residues.

Rats and Moles Burrows are also fumigated with Phosphine

Rats can infest farm buildings, poultry sheds and pig houses. Earth banks, hedgerows and overgrown vegetation provide ideal sites for rats to create burrows from which they can spread to the nearby buildings. Phosphine is used to fumigate the burrows to quickly reduce the size of a rat population, followed by rodenticide bait to control the remaining rat population.

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