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Defon has always operated with environmental ethics, even before concern for the environment became an issue within this industry, based upon principles which were later embraced by the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system.

Defon’s environmentally friendly approach is not only limited to the use of approved biocide products. The company initially focuses on investigating the problem whilst subsequently suggesting preventative measures to the client in order to discourage pests and infestations. The company then develops and applies an action plan which considers all possible control methods. After this procedure, a follow-up survey is performed. Finally, a report folder is composed and submitted to the client.

All these operations are carried out whilst keeping health and safety, the environment and efficiency in mind.

The most important step in Defon’s IPM system is inspection and monitoring of the area of interest. The findings of the survey, together with information from people living and/or working on the premises are used for the formulation and implementation of the company’s strategic action plan. After completion of the plan a follow-up survey is performed to establish the effectiveness of the actions taken and if necessary, additional measures are applied.

There are many parameters explored during the initial and the follow-up survey, such as:

Selection of survey equipment

Survey methods

Signs of infestation

Identification of the Pest

Source of infestation

Extent of infestation

Degree of infestation

Identification of problem areas

Reports

Regular monitoring

Selection of survey equipment


Selection of the appropriate equipment for searching, trapping, estimating pest population, such us: a torchlight, flushing-out sprays, baits, traps, measuring instruments, magnifying glass, etc., is important to conduct a thorough survey.


Defon’s thorough knowledge about pest species, their ethology and biology, is vital to the survey’s success.

This section refers to the control of pests through synthetic biocidal products. Popularizing the directive 528/2012 of the European Union, ‘biocidal product’ means any substance with the intention of destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any pest by any means other than mere physical or mechanical action.

The composition of the active ingredient(s) of a biocidal product can be of natural or synthetic origin. In practice synthetic biocides are predominately used, whilst those containing natural active ingredients, although not at the same category, are presented here because of their similar mode of action.

Mode of action

For Arthropods

For Rodents

For Birds & Snakes

Arthropods

Insects, Acari (Mites, Ticks) Scorpions, Centipedes, Spiders, Millipedes, etc.


Biocidal products that target arthropods (pesticides such as insecticides and acaricides) can be classed depending on their mode of action into:

  • Contact biocidal products (insecticides, acaricides)

    Applied via aerosol spray droplets, powder or granular formulations, have an effect when they come into direct contact with insect or other arthropod cuticle (exoskeleton). Through this route they enter the body of these organisms.

  • Stomach biocidal products (insecticides, acaricides)

    These are mainly applied as poisonous baits, directly consumed by insects (and other arthropods) that act upon ingestion. Some contact biocides may also act as stomach biocides when they enter the digestive system, via grooming (process of arthropod body cleaning).

  • Fumigants

    Applied as gasses or vapours, they get in the system of insects or other arthropods via inhalation through the spiracles (small holes along the side of their bodies) causing acute toxicity.

    More details on the subject are listed in the Fumigation section.

With the exception of fumigants, the majority of synthetic biocides, after use, leave behind a residue that will not break down over short periods of time and will thus be effective in controling arthropods for extended periods, often up to several months (depending on circumstances). This time is dependent on several parameters such us the formulation type (liquid, dust, etc.), the type of surface applied (smooth, porus, etc.), the weather conditions after application (sun, rain, etc. can lower the activity period) and more.

It has to be pointed out that biocides with natural active ingredients usually degrade faster. These are mainly used as insect repellents or where no prolonged residual action is desirable.

With Defon’s IPM system, chemical biocide formulations are handled in a safe and professional manner. The following are some important considerations before their use:

This selection is based on the following inter-related issues:

  • Pests

    Relates to the biology of the targeted pests, their ethology, their resistence to certain active ingredients, etc.

  • Active Ingredient of biocidal formulations

    The selection is based upon the mode of action and its effectiveness on target organisms. Another important parameter which is also taken into consideration is for the active ingredient’s minimum possible toxicity to non-target organisms.

  • Area of application

    Characteristics such us temperature, humidity, pressure, accessibility, nature of materials and surfaces, etc, are assessed.

  • Formulation

    Selection based upon which serves the purpose best. Thus the choice varies between powders, baits, formulations used after dilution with water, fumigants, etc.

Prior to use: The entire contents of the label are checked before use of any formulation.

Doses and application points: Biocides are applied to the appropriate points with the correct dosage and not used indiscriminately anywhere. Special care is taken within food areas. If sublethal doses are used and/or isolated pest pockets are left undetected and left undisturbed, the attempt for control fails, which may increase the likelihood of pests developing resistance to the active ingredient used. Correspondingly, the thoughtless application of excessive doses (in relation to the proper ones) may lead to environmental hazards, whilst the possibility of resistance development in this case, also increases. Such inappropriate handling could also deter arthropods from approaching the treated area therefore not exposing them to a lethal dose.

Rotation of active ingredients: Active ingredients are regularly rotated for avoidance of resistance development.

Safety measures: Biocides are handled in the most appropriate and safe manner whilst the operators employ the most appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

After a thorough survey and assessment of the findings, Defon develops an action plan as part of its IPM system. Problem areas are highlighted to the client with preventative recommendations to discourage the presence of pests for a current and/or foreseen infestation. In parallel, Defon will commence the implementation of a combination of practices to achieve the desired result.

Fumigation is the act of introducing, into a tightly sealed space, toxic compounds (biocidal fumigants), in a manner that disperse quickly into the gaseous or vapor state, in sufficient concentration, dependent on temperature and humidity, for sufficient time to be lethal to a targeted pest (insects, rodents, etc.).

This highly specialised method is aimed to target pests and involves, unique and to a large extend irreplaceable, biocidal fumigants, which amongst others are also applied where no other method of pest control is feasible.

Due to handling particularities and the high toxicity of fumigants, safety measures of paramount importance are enforced. Therefore, only qualified professionals with many years of practice in the field are capable of providing this service adequately and safely.

How does it work?

Fumigants penetrate pests (arthropods, rodents) via the respiratory system.

Insects (and other arthropods) breathe via tiny holes (spiracles), located along the sides of their bodies. When a fumigant is introduced, it attacks their nervous system causing excitation, followed by paralysis and eventually death. At high temperatures, insects are more active, their breathing more vigorous and their metabolism is increased, thus rendering them more susceptible to the fumigants, which can penetrate at all life stages of insect development. However, pupal and especially egg stages, require much higher concentrations or increased exposure time.

Fumigation particularities

Fumigation treatments present the following important advantages:

  • Immediate extermination of all pests in any stage of their development.

  • Their coverage extends to all areas of the sealed space, even in very difficult to reach or inaccessible areas where only a gas can penetrate.

In fumigation there is no residual effect after aeration. This can be considered, as an advantage, e.g. when applied to food commodities, but also as a disadvantage, e.g. when residual protection is required due to high risk of re-infestation.

Fumigation treatments present the following important disadvantages:

  • Damage and deterioration of certain materials and/or food. These are dependant on their specific vulnerability to certain fumigants.

  • High costs of treatments.

  • Dead pests remain in their shelters with possible increased difficulty upon their removal. Particularly with regard to rodents, due to their decay, health hazards occur and eventually strong smells emerge.

  • Increased technical difficulties of implementation can, in some cases render fumigation impossible.

  • Important limitations on applications arise from legislative framework.

Often, combination of other pest control methods along with fumigation might be required.

Types of fumigants

The most commonly used fumigant gases in the world market include:

  • Methyl Bromide (CH3Br)

  • Phosphine or Hydrogen Phosphide (PH3)

  • Sulfuryl Fluoride (SO2F2)

These active ingredients have different properties, and therefore different advantages and disadvantages.

For the selection of the appropriate fumigant, the targeted pest and mainly the surrounding environment (with its peculiarities), are taken into consideration. This choice is based upon efficiency, provided that there is no damage to the area of application. The range of fumigants, from which one can select, is often limited by the legislation that governs their use, depending upon the country.

In which sectors fumigation can be applied?

Fumigation can be applied under safety conditions, dictated by the legal framework of each country, in all sectors such as: shipping, airlines, healthcare, hospitality and catering, industrial and warehousing, silos, containers, food commodities, wholesale and retail, offices, residential, artifacts, etc.

Fumigation procedure

The eight basic steps of fumigation are as follows:

  • 1. Planning

  • 2. Inspection and measuring of the area of application

  • 3. Air-tight sealing of the area that will be treated

  • 4. Shooting of the fumigant

  • 5. Monitoring (measuring of temperature, humidity and gas concentration)

  • 6. Aeration

  • 7. Testing (checking of ambient air in the treated area)

  • 8. Cleanup (of all used materials)


All the biocides that Defon uses are approved by the appropriate government departments, in whichever country they are used, in compliance with the relevant government legislation.