Fumigation FAQs


(Frequently asked Questions)

·         What is fumigation ?

The National Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (NSPM) -11 defines fumigation as application of any chemical in a gaseous state in a gas tight enclosure to kill insect and other pests. According to the National Pest Control Association of America (NPCA), fumigation is the introduction of a toxic gas into a space in a high enough concentration so that the gas fills all areas to kill target insects.

·         What is a fumigant?

A fumigant is a chemical at a particular temperature and pressure that can exist in gaseous state in sufficient concentration and for sufficient time to be lethal to insect and other pests.

·         What are the commonly used fumigants for commodities in India?

Methyl Bromide and Phosphine are the two most common fumigants used for treating raw commodities, processed food and wooden packaging material. In hospital settings and  pharmaceutical manufacturing, ethylene oxide fumigation is used for sterilization.

·         What are the differences between Methyl Bromide and Phosphine gas ?

Methyl Bromide (MBr) is a liquid under pressure that turns into a gas when released after heating.  It is stored in cylinders or cans. MBr  is highly penetrative, can kill insect eggs, highly toxic to a broad spectrum of insects and similar pests, and is lethal even in relatively short exposure periods (typically 24 hours for non-perishables).  However, it reacts with food containing high levels of fat, certain types of rubber, etc, and is forbidden for some commodities.

Aluminium Phosphide (ALP) when allowed to react with atmospheric water vapour, produces phosphine gas. It is available in tablet form. ALP exposure periods are higher (typically 72 hours) and is not lethal to all insect eggs. However, ALP can be safely used for oil seeds and fatty foods like cashew nuts.

Both fumigants are highly toxic to humans and pets, and oprations have to be performed in a precise manner in the fashion prescribed by the national standards, as the fumigation treatments involve complex procedures. 

·         How do I decide which fumigant to use for my cargo?


The Plant Protection Adviser to Government of India issues notifications from time to time (PQ orders) relating to the fumigant and dosage to be used for different commodities.

In case of shipments to Australia, only Methyl Bromide fumigations are acceptable.

Fumigation of Wooden Packaging (including dunnage) is mandated under the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) -15, which recommends using Methyl Bromide only.

If you are in doubt, contact the nearest Plant Quarantine station, or a reliable fumigation company.

·     Will fumigating wooden pallets and boxes get rid of Fungal infection?

No. Methyl bromide is very effective against insect pests, but is not lethal to commonly found fungal species. If you wish so, Aqua & Arthropods Pest Control can perform anti-fungal treatment for your wooden packaging material.

·         Why should I come to Aqua & Arthropods Pest Control ?

Aqua & Arthropods have been in this business for more than 25 years. You can trust us to know a lot about fumigation.

Our highly skilled professionals are trained to deliver the highest quality fumigations possible.

Aqua & Arthropods Pest Control are accredited to undertake fumigation for all countries, including Australia.

We aim to offer you the best service in the most cost effective way.


·         Which are the Organizations/Agencies Responsible for Fumigation Treatments ?

Each of the following parties is responsible for themselves and to one another for the successful conduct of fumigation operations-

1.     The person or organization seeking the treatment (client)

2.     Importer/exporter of the consignment

3.     Regulatory agencies (Central/State Governments)

4.     Transport providers

5.     Other agencies such as customs, port authorities, shipping agents etc.

·         What are my responsibilities as the owner of the commodity / shipping agent / warehouse manager / agent representing buyer/ exporter or importer ?

1.     Choose  a fumigation agency, who is  holding valid license (such as Aqua & Arthropods Pest Control P Ltd) issued by State Government and accredited by the Plant Protection Adviser of the Government of India, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Faridabad. 

2.     Inform the fumigation agency before commencing the treatment, about the quarantine treatment requirements of  the commodity, the composition of  consignment; storage condition and place of  the commodity; end use of the  consignment; package conditions and specific market requirements ( fumigant  residue limits, where applicable) and other contract or agreement requirements,  where applicable.

3.     Ensure sufficient time is available to perform treatments to meet the quarantine requirements.

4.     inform the transport contractor not to move the fumigated consignment or container until the degassing and release of the commodity or container.

5.     ensure proper stocking of consignment or  placing container on the ground  to  facilitate carrying out proper treatment. 


Have any other questions? Do feel free to write to  us at response@aquafumigation.com