Fumigation & IPM Q&As

12/2022 Issue: Fumigation & IPM Q&As:

  1. Pest ID - what is this insect? Should we be worried about it? (Will it infest/pose a threat to food safety). Most likely, your FSS technician can ID the insect and provide a plan to aid in control.  If they are unable to field ID the pest, then we have a lab and multiple ACE and BCE Entomologists who will provide support.  Proper identification is paramount to prescribing an effective plan to eliminate the pest issue.
  2. Can FSS provide training for our employees? Yes, we provide many forms of education from insect inspection, GMP awareness, Audit preparation and guidance, annual analysis, and continuous improvements (standard with many of our DynamicIPM programs), railcar receiving and aeration training, fit testing for respiratory protection, monitor use training, monitor calibrations and many other services that will help your staff be better at preventing major issues.
  3. Can I get alerts from the smart devices and access the online portal? Yes, this is available through our website and a secure login. Your notifications can be customized and instantaneous (a word of caution regarding 2:00AM rodent catch notifications however). While good old-fashioned face to face discussions regarding weekly findings are important, you will also receive a digital copy of your weekly report if desired. Because our program is mostly digital, you can search, manipulate data, and customize your experience in a variety of ways.
  4. Will there be any residue left behind after fumigation? Fumigants are true gases and do not leave a residue after a fumigation. Fumigants are applied in gaseous form. This allows the gas to enter the insect via inhalation. Once a fumigant gas is aerated, there will be no residue. Some formulations of phosphine called “metal phosphides” do leave an ashy residue but are not labeled for direct application to finished food. There are special precautions taken when applying metal phosphides to eliminate any exposure to finished products.
  5. How much will my fumigation cost?  Prices will vary based on target organism, temperature, half-loss of the facility, timeline, exposure time and difficulty in preparation. Insects require much higher dosage rates and thus more fumigant making fumigations cost more. Insects respire slower when it’s colder, causing an increase in dosage rate and more fumigant will be needed to achieve higher Concentration Time (CT) levels. Your facility may not hold gas well and may require add-gas. This will make your fumigation cost more. If you call on Wednesday and want a fumigation on Friday, it will cost more to move schedules, make shipments, and procure materials. The available down time will dictate how long we can hold the exposure time which will impact aeration time and the overall cost of the fumigation. We must achieve a certain product (Concentration x Time) known as CT to kill certain target pests. A warehouse will be much easier to prepare (typically) than a production site due to the construction and systems that must be sealed off to keep the fumigant inside the building. So, you will most likely not get a quote over the phone. If you do, run away. We carefully assess fumigations since safety is paramount to providing quality fumigation.
  6. How long do we need to be out of the building/ how long will it take? Depending on several variables, the Fumigator In Charge (FIC) will work with the client to determine exposure time. Other factors that influence exposure time may half-loss time, temperature, target organism and the most influential is available down time. Typically, a fumigation can be completed in 36-48 hours, but of course many other factors come into play also. These are all identified during the planning phase where we develop a Fumigation Management Plan (FMP).