Fogging vs. Fumigation – What’s the difference?

What are the differences between fogging and fumigation?

  • Fumigation makes use of toxic chemicals
  • Fogging is effective against flying insects
  • Fogging can be carried out in an open environment

Fogging and fumigation are two forms of pest control that are similar in nature. Both of them involve the use of an insecticide or chemical solution that is aerosolized and applied to a given area using a smoke or fog machine.

While this might lead you to believe that the two are the same, there are some key differences between them that you would do well to know. Despite their efficacy in killing insects and pests in different industries, knowing which one is better for your needs can potentially save you from a headache.

Fumigation makes use of toxic chemicals

One of the biggest differences between fogging and fumigation is the chemicals that they use. Fumigation always involves the use of toxic chemicals that have an adverse effect on humans, if not the environment. For example, formaldehyde solutions of varying compositions (e.g. formaldehyde + potassium permanganate) are commonly used.

Formaldehyde is known to be a carcinogenic substance. Aside from that, exposure to the fumes produced by this chemical can irritate the eyes, nose, and cause nausea and headaches.

Methyl bromide is another chemical solution that was widely used for fumigation. However, it was eventually banned by the ‘Montreal Protocol’ due to the chemical’s role in ozone depletion.

Meanwhile, fogging uses a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and silver ion solution to control pests and contaminations. In contrast with fumigation, fogging poses little-to-no adverse effects on people’s health. This makes it safe for the pest-control personnel who are going to be exposed to the fog.

Fogging can be carried out in an open environment

Since fogging does not involve harmful chemicals, it can be done in an open environment. The hydrogen peroxide and silver solution decomposes naturally into water and nascent oxygen with no residue left behind. Thanks to this, cleanup is minimal and worry-free.

It would be impossible to do fumigation in open air, which is why you can always see the areas being treated enclosed and sealed air-tight. Fumigation also entails a process of ‘de-fumigation’ done by an air handling unit (AHU) for a few hours to fully flush out the toxic gas. Aside from that, extensive physical cleaning must be done to the surfaces of the treated area to remove the residue left behind by the chemicals.

Fogging is more effective against flying insects

Another difference between the two forms of pest control is their efficacy in targeting certain insects. Fogging is better for getting rid of flying insects like adult mosquitoes and flies. Hot vapor can be used to keep the chemical solution airborne for a longer period of time. This ensures a thorough bout of pest control in an infested area.

If fogging is effective against airborne or flying insects, fumigation is much better at combating stored product insects and other hard-to-reach pests such as termites. This is because the fumigant gas penetrates deep into structures, going through cracks and crevices. Given that an area being treated will be enclosed, fumigation can be considered a more concentrated and thorough pest control method.

Despite what has been previously mentioned, both fogging and fumigation are still effective at getting rid of most insects, fungi, bacteria, and contamination. One is just much more effective at clearing flying insects while the other is better at getting to insects in hard-to-reach, hard-to-penetrate areas.

Key Takeaway

Based on what has been said above, fogging has overtaken fumigation in the past few decades as the preferred method for pest control. Fogging has the advantage of safety, efficacy, easy application and cleanup. However, there will still be circumstances and situations where fumigation can be a better method.

If you are looking for a solution to an infestation at home or otherwise, try asking your local pest control experts regarding your options. At the end of the day, they will know what is best.

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