Fumigation offers one of the most effective control measures against varieties of stored product pests and for quarantine purposes for export commodities or plant quarantine requirements. In some situation, fumigation has been used for the control of drywood termite and wood borer in structural buildings.
The term “Fumigation” is often misunderstood by layman to mean pest extermination, which is the incorrect definition. Fumigation is generally defined as “ a chemical which at a required temperature and pressure, can exist in the gaseous state in sufficient concentration to be lethal to a given pest organism.” Fumigation can therefore be defined as a control technique, which involves the establishment of an atmosphere containing a lethal gas in the environment of an insect of a concentration high enough, and an exposure period long enough to kill the target insect.
Under the Malaysian scenario, the main fumigants registered and approved for use under the application of licensed fumigators are: hydrogen cyanide (HCN), methyl bromide and aluminium phosphide (phosphine gas). All forms of fumigation work carried out should be in accordance with The Hydrogen Cyanide Act and Regulations (1953) which was enacted in 1953 and later revised in 1981. The main objective of this Act is to regulate the fumigation of premises, vessels, aircrafts and articles. The purpose of this Act and the regulations under it is to protect the public from dangers in connection with the fumigation of premises and articles which include ships or vehicles. This also includes the issue of proper disposal of residue arising form the fumigation work. In order to carry out such fumigation under this Act, the Pest Control Operators or personnel must have a Fumigation License from the Ministry of Health.