No one wants to have their home fumigated but in some particular devastating cases of infestation, fumigating the entire property may be necessary. Depending on the species of pests, different chemicals may be used to fumigate. Nearly all pesticides used in fumigation are hazardous to humans and animals, though, so it’s imperative you never attempt to fumigate your property without a licensed extermination professional’s assistance.


There are a number of measures that your household will be asked to take in order to prepare for the event. It can take several days to prepare, so make sure you have a plan of action to follow and don’t wait until the last minute to get started. Your exterminator will provide you with a checklist of items to help you prepare for a successful fumigation.

  • Disconnect the gas supply.

If you use gas as an energy source in your home, you’ll need to have the gas shut off before fumigation begins. Schedule a temporary shutoff to happen first thing in the morning the day fumigation begins.

  • Remove plants, animals and people.

Anything that’s alive will need to be removed from the inside of your home and kept away from the house. Both animals could get into a spot where they would be exposed to the fumigant. Houseplants can be moved outdoors to a shady spot several feet away from the home’s exterior. You will need to find a place for your family to stay for up to three days.

Perishable food items, including those inside your fridge and freezer, must be either removed from the home or double bagged in special fumigation bags. Items you must double bag if they are to remain inside  include items such as rice and cereals that are packaged in plastic or cardboard, even if these items are unopened. Any canned or bottled items that are unopened/still sealed may remain inside your home. Don’t forget to remove bagged pet food too, even if it’s unopened.

  • Medications

Vitamins, over-the counter medications, and prescriptions must also be double bagged or removed from your home. Make sure you pack any medications you take regularly to keep with you and double bag all other items, including things like cough drop.

You’ll need to cut back plants and shrubs that are close to your home so they will remain outside the tented area. This can be a good excuse to get some much-needed pruning done. Once pruning is complete, thoroughly water the perimeter of your home to further protect the plants from the fumigant.

  • Remove plastic from indoor items.

The plastic tent is used to trap fumigant inside your home, but when plastic is covering items inside the home, the gases can get inside or underneath and become trapped, so they are not able to dissipate once the fumigation is over. Any items covered in plastic should have the plastic cover removed. Plastic storage totes should have the covers removed as well. If you’re not sure whether an item in plastic is airtight or not, remove it from the property.



  1. The area to be treated is covered with tarp (tenting) then all ventilation holes and slats are taped shut to ensure the fumigation chemicals are trapped inside.
  2. After all humans and animals have exited, pesticide vapors are pumped into the tent structure where the seep into wood, and all the elements of the structure to kill hard-to-reach pests.
  3. The chemicals are allowed to steep for a set period of time, usually between 24-72 hours, then the area is de-fumigated and the tent is removed.
  4. A pest control professional will manually check all areas of concern in the property to ensure the pest infestation is under control. Continued follow-up spot treatments may be necessary.

After all fumigation activities is done, it is safe to clean or hire a cleaning crew to completely clean your home. For anyone else who is considering fumigation, I would recommend insisting that anyone who fumigates your home or business hire a professional cleaning crew to come in after the fumigation to completely clean all surfaces in the home.

I would also recommend washing all bedding and clothing that has been exposed to sulfuryl fluoride. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

However, if you smell anything unusual, you may want to stay out another couple of days and then contact the fumigation company to have the check it out.

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