In this article, we discuss the difference between fumigation and disinfection to help you understand which to use in different scenarios.

When dealing with any pest species, it’s essential your space is regularly cleaned to prevent the spread of disease and reduce the risk of contamination.

However, if you are unable to manage the size of the infestation then opting for disinfection is unlikely to resolve the problem. Instead, you may require a fumigation service.



What is fumigation?

Fumigation is a pest control process where gaseous chemicals are released into an airtight space to eliminate unwanted pests.

The chemicals are held at a certain temperature and pressure in the infested area until the fumigator is confident the pest species has been successfully eradicated. Afterwards, the space is aired until it is safe for people to reenter.

Fumigation is used around the world in a range of industries to prevent the spread of damaging non-native species like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), as well as to protect stored product goods and cargo from other unwanted pests.

It is a process that requires specialised knowledge and experience you will only find with a licenced fumigator.

For that reason, we always recommend doing your research carefully, particularly if you are exporting cargo to other countries that have strict fumigation requirements on imports.


What can fumigation be used for?

Fumigation is generally used when pest problems become unmanageable because it is a quick and effective solution for eradicating several species.

Below, we list some of the most common pests our team deals with:

  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) This species is notorious for causing millions of pounds’ worth of damage in non-native countries to goods, cargo, and agriculture. We regularly fumigate cargo for customers exporting to Australia, New Zealand and other countries around the world.
  • Wood Boring Insects (wood boring weevils and beetles). These species are known to feed on and destroy timbers.
  • Stored Product Insects (grain weevils, moths, and flour beetles). These insects are notorious for damaging food goods and raw materials and contaminating consumer products.


What is the difference between fumigation and disinfection?

Fumigation and disinfection are both methods of cleaning surfaces or areas, but the circumstances in which they are appropriate are distinct.

In order to understand the difference between fumigation and disinfection, we must first define them.

Disinfection is often confused with cleaning, but it is much more than the removal of visible dirt. It is a process which uses chemical substances or compounds to destroy bacteria in an area or on a surface.

Fumigation, as explained above, is a method of pest control that releases gaseous chemicals into an airtight space to remove unwanted pest species and harmful microorganisms.

The key difference between the processes is what they should be used for.

Disinfection is used to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi and mould living on surfaces, while fumigation aids in eradicating pests in buildings, cargo, soil, grain and other food goods.

The techniques are often used in tandem to fight against pest problems. For example, after a space has been fumigated and enough time has elapsed, the next procedure is usually to disinfect the area.

If you have been dealing with a rat or mice infestation, disinfecting your property will be necessary to prevent the spread of disease and infection.


Which is better; fumigation or disinfection?

Both processes are essential to managing unwanted pests and ensuring that your space is kept clean.

As mentioned previously, each methods has its own purposes; therefore, neither is better than the other.

They can be used together to ensure that your premises adheres to the necessary health and safety regulations and keep safe people working on site.


How can Urban Hawks help with fumigation?

For more than quarter of a century, we have provided high-quality fumigation services to customers across the North West of England and nationwide.

If you are concerned about a potential infestation of any of the pest species we’ve mentioned, our fumigant team can help.

If left untreated, these pests can infest cargo, grains and raw materials, causing untold damage and potentially presenting a health hazard to humans.

However, fumigation treatments will quickly and effectively stop these pests without damaging your property. Our team is trained and licenced to use sulfuryl fluoride and metallic phosphides to eradicate hidden pests.

Throughout our time in the industry, we have successfully assisted customers located at ports, rail freight terminals, and warehouses, as well as in agricultural settings within grain stores and silos.

We are also proud to be listed as an approved fumigator by the Australian and New Zealand Government Quarantine service for treating imported goods.


In need of fumigation treatments?

If you are interested in learning more about our fumigation service, for example how to get a fumigation certificate or are concerned about a potential infestation on your site, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 0151 345 6854 or send an email to

We are happy to answer any questions, and offer a free consultancy process to discuss your issues before auctioning an agreed solution.