Fumigation services, a key element to food protection

Fumigation is one of the most effective tools the Sprague Pest Experts have at their disposal to eradicate pests that have chosen to infest a variety of structures, including:

  • Grain silos
  • Food warehousing
  • Storage facilities
  • Ships
  • Railcars
  • Farm equipment
  • Combines
  • Swathers
  • Semi-trailers
  • Shipping containers

In 2013, the United States exported USD136 billion and imported USD115 billion in foods, feeds and beverages, respectively. Fumigation services played a vital role in protecting a significant amount of the crops and unprocessed food stores during their trip from farm to table – even if that farm or table is half a world away!

Fumigation provides a quick and complete kill on rodents and other pests at low dosage rates. In the case of seed crops, fumigation won’t harm the seed’s germination process.

The speed and effectiveness of a fumigation treatment is a plus for commercial food processing, storage and transportation outlets. These businesses lose valuable time and revenue if a facility or piece of equipment is shut down during peak production or harvest times. Sprague often performs fumigation treatments on weekends and can typically complete the job in 24 to 48 hours.

While fumigation offers a quick knock-down of pest populations, it does not provide a residual control effect and should be incorporated in a comprehensive, consistent pest management program that depending on the pest includes sanitation protocols, rodent baiting and trapping, and repellants.

A fumigation treatment starts with a thorough inspection and detailed safety meeting by Sprague’s fumigation team. Each fumigation job is customized to the facility’s specific needs and design – there is no cookie-cutter approach.

To deliver a successful fumigation and eliminate target pests, the following elements must be taken into account:

Sealing – The structure must be sealed to reduce gas loss during exposure. Some clients prefer to seal the structure themselves but the Sprague Pest Experts are always available for consultation.

Dosage – Dosage refers to the concentration of gas and the time the pest is exposed to the gas. This is determined by the temperature and pest species. For rodents, 36 ounce hours (a measure of the quantity of fumigant and the exposure time) are needed for an effective kill when using ProFume. This is much lower than dosages required for insects and insures that germination in the product is not affected.

Monitoring – Throughout the fumigation, gas level readings are taken through tubes placed in the fumigation space prior to the gas introduction. The readings are necessary to ensure adequate dosage.

Temperature – While warmer temperatures are desired for fumigations targeting various species of beetles, weevils and moths, cold temperatures are not a deterrent for rodent fumigations. This is because insects are cold-blooded and their metabolism slows as temperatures decline.  A slower metabolism means more fumigant is needed.  On the other hand, in the warm-blooded rodents the metabolism actually increases with cooler temperatures.  Successful rodent fumigations have been completed when the thermometer has dipped into the lows 40’s.

Aeration – Aeration time following the fumigation is variable, depending on temperature, humidity and air movement.