What Is the CO2 Fumigation Technique for Controlling Pests?

Fumigation is a pest control solution that works by filling infested areas with a fine cloud of insecticidal vapor. This mist settles in surfaces and seeps into cracks, effectively killing large numbers of cockroaches, bed bugs, and other tough-to-eradicate household pests.

One popular fumigation method is the carbon dioxide fumigation technique, which has a high success rate when it comes to exterminating persistent pests. So, what is the CO2 fumigation Method, and when and how is it used in pest control, and should you use it at home?

What is the CO2 fumigation method?

The CO2 fumigation method is a fumigation technique that uses carbon dioxide, rather than traditional pesticides, to kill insects. The treatment works by pumping carbon dioxide gas into sealed space to dramatically lower the oxygen percentage in the atmosphere. The insects are deprived of oxygen and start to die off as a result.

Keep in mind!

The CO2 fumigation method is an effective pest control technique and kills pests at all stages of their cycle (eggs, larvae, and adults).

Carbon dioxide treatment is a highly effective way to kill a wide range of insect pests, even those that are traditionally hard to get rid of.

When is the CO2 fumigation method used?

Unlike many traditional pesticides, carbon dioxide fumigants don’t leave harmful residues behind. For this reason, the CO2 fumigation method is commonly used to treat stored products and foodstuffs (like rice and grain).

Most of the time, CO2 fumigation is used for agricultural purposes, where it is used to combat insect pests, mold, and fungi.

However, the technique is safe to use with most materials and is very unlikely to damage surfaces or furnishings. Therefore, CO2 fumigation is especially effective against bed bugs, which often hide away in household items such as bedding, bed frames, clothing, and even books.

Studies have shown that carbon dioxide fumigation can kill up to 100% of bed bugs and their eggs, making it an effective treatment option for these hard-to-kill biters.

Should I get my house fumigated with CO2?

For CO2 fumigation to work, the treatment area must be completely sealed off to prevent CO2 from escaping, and the stop oxygen seeping in. Unfortunately, houses aren’t designed to be hermetically sealed, so home CO2 fumigation usually isn’t an option.

However, CO2 fumigation can be used to de-pest infested household items, as these can be placed inside sealed containers for fumigation.

For people struggling with persistent bed bug infestations, carbon dioxide treatment may be the easiest way to rid themselves of the problem.

CO2 fumigation equipment is available for purchase but can be eye-wateringly expensive to set up at home. What’s more, the treatment takes 3-4 weeks to complete and requires consistent monitoring throughout. Unless you have a lot of money and time to burn, looking for a professional CO2 fumigation service operator is probably your best option for getting personal items treated.

CO2 fumigation procedure

The general CO2 fumigation procedure involves the use of a sealed enclosure, which is used to treat infested items. The steps are as follows:

  1. Creating a vacuum: After the infested items are placed inside the enclosure, the air is sucked out to create a vacuum.
  2. Releasing the CO2: Carbon dioxide is released into the vacuum. The pressure of the gas is controlled by a series of valves and meters, and the CO2 level is typically stabilized at 60%. Sometimes, if a quicker treatment is required, the CO2 level may be raised to 80%. The equipment must be consistently monitored throughout this time period.
  3. Wait: Once the enclosure is filled with CO2, all there is left to do is wait. Typically, the CO2 fumigation technique takes 3-4 weeks to work, though alternative methods (like using a higher concentration of CO2) may kill all bugs within 14 days.
  4. Evacuate the CO2: After 3-4 weeks have passed, the carbon dioxide gas is evacuated from the enclosure.

Reasons to use the CO2 fumigation method

  • CO2 produces no harmful residues (unlike many traditional pesticides)
  • It’s safe to use (when performed correctly)
  • Safe to use on a wide range of materials
  • Highly effective way to kill a wide range of pests at all stages of the life cycle
  • Technique creates no material or chemical waste
  • Highly effective way to treat household items for bed bugs

Reasons to Avoid the CO2 fumigation method

  • Long treatment time (can take up to 4 weeks to complete)
  • Specialist equipment required
  • Treatment requires consistent monitoring over a 4-week period (staff required)
  • CO2 treatments can be dangerous if performed incorrectly
  • Special licensing may be required to use the equipment (depending on local regulations)


The CO2 fumigation method is a pest control treatment option that uses oxygen deprivation to kill pests. By replacing the oxygen inside a sealed enclosure with carbon dioxide, it’s possible to kill all stages of the insect life cycle in a matter of weeks.

The carbon dioxide fumigation technique has proven to be a highly effective way of killing bed bugs, cockroaches, and other insect pests. It is commonly used to treat organic produce (as carbon dioxide leaves no harmful residues), though it may also be used to rid infested, household items of bugs.

However, this technique requires specialist equipment to perform, and cannot be used to treat entire houses. It also takes up to 4 weeks to completely eradicate bugs. For these reasons, it may not be convenient or cost-effective enough to be a viable home pest control option.

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