Have you ever needed a fumigation service but were unsure what to look for in a provider? Or have you been wondering how does fumigation work? In this blog post we chat with one of our local experts about Rentokil’s fumigation services.
Our Quality Assurance Manager (QAM) for the Kwa-Zulu Natal Region, Deena Govender, was happy to share some of his secrets with us. But before we jump in, here’s a little inside information about Deena.
Deena is a highly respected member of the KZN team and is constantly encouraging, coaching, and mentoring new colleagues that start with Rentokil. He’s a trusted source of information and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise from his many years in the field, and he’s always willing to share this knowledge with anyone in the business.
We asked Deena a few questions about how the public perceives fumigation, and here’s what he had to say.
Q: What are some of the misconceptions people have about fumigation?
A: Apart from confusing fumigation with a general pest spray treatment (which is carried out for nuisance pests) people think that fumigation is a silver bullet that will solve all their pest problems in one treatment, and that afterwards they’ll be pest-free forever.
Fumigation, like general pest control, is an ongoing partnership between Rentokil and our customers: we need to work together to reach the desired outcome which is managing and maintaining a pest-free environment.
In most cases, fumigation is for the export industry and customers whose industries are prone to stored-product insects (SPI). However, fumigation can also be used for treating loose furniture items that have suspected termites or wood-boring insects or even bed bugs.
Q: When is fumigation (rather than a general pest treatment) required?
A: Different types of fumigation can be used to treat various commodities, for example:
- Wood-boring insects in structures – for example termites and beetles;
- To treat food products infested with Stored Product Insects like beetles, moths, mites, and weevils;
(Read more about fumigation in food manufacturing in this blog post)
- Deep-seated infestation in machinery on your premises;
- Container fumigation for infested wooden furniture, artefacts and textiles;
- To comply with export regulations relating to brown marmorated stink bug or wooden logs that are being exported, for example.
We use different types of fumigant gasses for various fumigation services – which depend on the commodity being fumigated or type of fumigation carried out.
Q: How dangerous is fumigation, really?
A: If not performed correctly, fumigation can be deadly. The fumigants used are highly toxic, and even minimal amounts can poison or even kill human beings and animals. We regularly read news reports of deaths or injury to people, pets, plants, or contamination of water or other products.
Fumigation is especially dangerous if one cannot smell the gas – like in the case of Methyl Bromide or Profume. Incorrect storage or transport of fumigants (or their residues) can also cause harm. Phosphine can lead to explosions, fires, sickness or even death. The risk can be reduced by using the correct fumigant for the intended application, and to have strict safety protocols in place.
Q: What differentiates Rentokil’s fumigation services from the rest?
A: There are many but the following are some of the most notable differences between Rentokil and other fumigation companies.
- At Rentokil, we have strict policies with regards to safety during fumigation work, and keeping our staff and customers safe is our number 1 priority. A detailed Site Risk Assessment (SRA) is carried out before, during and after fumigation and is critical to ensure everyone’s safety and the efficacy of the treatment.
- No shortcuts can be entertained at any stage of the job and we comply to strict international standards. Paperwork must be completed which is checked and verified during quarterly branch audits.
- Gas leak checks and gas monitoring are very important to ensure that the job is being done correctly and safely, and are done at every stage of the process. Our equipment is also calibrated regularly so that we have accurate readings throughout the treatment.
- All staff are provided with the correct PPE and personal monitoring devices so that fumigations can be carried out safely.
- We have qualified Supervisors, Fumigators-in-Charge and Fumigators who have been trained extensively in theory and practical. Safety is our first priority and these trained staff will ensure that every fumigation job is done professionally, effectively and safely.
- People are sometimes very concerned about poisonous residues left behind in their foodstuffs. As part of our process, we fully aerate the product after a fumigation treatment to expel every bit of fumigant before we sign off the job as completed. Proper aeration is one of the reasons why fumigation-in-transit is illegal.
Read more about our safety protocols in our previous blog Fumigation: why safety is a BIG deal!
Q: What could go wrong when not using a registered company for fumigation work?
A: The list of things that could go wrong is endless, but here are a few of the most common problems:
- Failed fumigations – without the correct measuring and monitoring systems in place an effective fumigation cannot be guaranteed.
- Litigation for loss or damage.
- Product damage due to excessive use of fumigants – it is important to always read the fumigant labels and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and directions.
- Injury or death of people, plants or pets or even contamination of the surrounding environment.
- Damage to reputation and loss of subsequent income.
- No recognition of Fumigation certificate internationally – will your exported goods be accepted when reaching customs in another country? Have you followed their regulatory requirements?
- Loss of time and money – Turnaround time for our customer is crucial and therefore imperative for us to provide a safe and effective service the first time around.
Q: Silliest thing ever fumigated in a container?
A: We don’t fumigate silly things at Rentokil. We value all our clients’ sentimental artefacts no matter how big or small.
Q: The most time consuming job you’ve ever been involved in, but the most memorable?
A: Two jobs spring to mind. One would be the most recent fumigation of an entire floor of filling machines at a large international food manufacturing company. It was a time consuming job and extremely deadline driven, but our team was focused and also excited to be part of such a rewarding and successful outcome using the fumigant Profume.
The second was the fumigation of logs transported by ship. This was a huge operation and like none we have ever done before. Along with our fumigation team, our Regional Manager, Fumigation Manager, myself, as well as our Branch Manager were on hand to guide, support and make sure that all protocols were followed to keep ourselves and the ship’s crew safe, and the fumigation successful.
Q: Why should people choose Rentokil as their Fumigation provider?
A: I know I have a biased view, but I do believe that fumigation is not for amateurs. Customers should cross check their suppliers thoroughly and not only look at the cost but at the value and peace of mind you’ll receive from partnering with Rentokil, the experts in pest control.
We are a respected international brand with very strict protocols when it comes to fumigation. Our footprint covers not only South Africa, but Sub-Saharan Africa as well, and with 50 years of experience, we can assure our customers that we all follow the same high standards and protocols. Our expertise, reliability and professionalism is evident from the many customer responses we receive. We are a very responsible company, looking after our environment, our employees as well as our customers.
I’d highly recommend Rentokil for any fumigation job, and hope you’ll contact us for a free pest risk survey or for more information.