Fumigating a structure.
Field research assistants and Dr. Krieger (back row, far right) of the Personal Chemical Exposure Program, UC Riverside.
Structural fumigation is a pest control tool for eliminating damaging pests that are difficult or impossible to control by other methods, including localized insecticide application. Structural fumigations using sulfuryl fluoride have been performed on residences, businesses and other structures for fifty years. Most residents in California, Florida, Hawaii and other warm climate states are familiar with the brightly colored tarps used to contain the fumigant within the structure to eliminate drywood termites, wood-destroying beetles, or other pests including bed bugs.
The purpose of this webpage is to provide information about structural fumigation, sulfuryl fluoride, and current research and initiatives related to fumigation. Information provided here is a joint effort between UC Riverside Personal Chemical Exposure Program (PCEP) and UC Berkeley Urban Pest Management Center (UPMC).
Personal Chemical Exposure Program
The Personal Chemical Exposure Program in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside, conducts human and environmental studies intended to clarify and define important chemical exposure issues. Concepts in chemical exposure assessment related to their research include risk assessment, mitigation, perception and regulation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Structural Fumigation
Personal Chemical Exposure Program staff periodically respond to questions from the public about fumigation. Some common questions and answers are included here. Fumigation technology is well-studied and answers to questions about specific work practices and safe fumigant use may be obtained from the trained professionals who work as sulfuryl fluoride fumigators, pesticide registrants, and state regulators.Why are buildings fumigated with sulfuryl fluoride?
How many fumigations with sulfuryl fluoride are conducted each year in California?
What sulfuryl fluoride products are registered for structural fumigation of residences and other buildings in California?
What procedures do fumigators follow to protect the safety of neighbors and building occupants during fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride?
What is a toxic air contaminant?
Will fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride adversely affect water and soil?
Sulfuryl fluoride and chloropicrin are listed as a California Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC). Does this affect their use as a fumigant and warning agent, respectively, in homes and other buildings?
Will occupants returning to buildings following fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride be exposed to toxic concentrations of the fumigant by off-gassing?