Fumigating and Tenting
Fumigating and Tenting a Home for Drywood Termites
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites live inside their food source “wood” making soil treatments ineffective. Structural fumigation is recommended for severe, widespread, partly inaccessible and/or difficult to locate drywood termite infestations. Less extensive infestations often are treated with termiticides injected directly into the wood or localized heat treatment.
How Does Termite Fumigation Work?
During the termite fumigation process, a trained pest management professional will place a tent (tarps) over a home before releasing a fumigant throughout the structure. The fumigant will circulate throughout the home to reach cracks and crevices between and inside wood where termites can tunnel and thrive. Termites will breathe in the fumigant, which then will deplete their oxygen, affect their nervous system and cause their death.
After the expert has confirmed there has been sufficient fumigant exposure to infested areas to control all active termite colonies, he or she will remove the termite fumigation tent. Once the tarps are removed, the fumigant will disperse into the air. It typically takes at least six hours for the fumigant to thoroughly aerate from a house after treatment.
From preparation to treatment to aeration, the entire fumigation process can take about 24 to 72 hours, depending on the size of the house and the outdoor conditions. For safety reasons, the pest control expert will test each room in the house using a sensitive fumigant clearance device to ensure the fumigant has aerated and occupants can safely re-enter the home.
While it is important to follow the expert’s instructions to prepare or remove some items before the fumigation, termite fumigants do not leave permanent residues in a home or on household items.
Is Termite Fumigation Effective?
Fumigation is an effective treatment technique however, it’s not a prevention method. Fumigation controls drywood termite colonies that are active at the time of treatment, but offers no protection against future colonies.
It is more difficult to prevent drywood termite infestations than subterranean termite infestations, since there are more potential entry points for drywood termites. By sealing as many cracks as possible and performing regular upkeep on exposed wood, you and your pest professional can help reduce the likelihood of an infestation. However, a proactive program that includes direct wood treatment and regular maintenance provides the most comprehensive protection.
Are Termite Tenting & Fumigation Safe?
The termite fumigation process is very complex and involves restricted-use pesticides. Fumigations can be performed only by professionals who have completed extensive training and passed certification tests.
A certified termite expert may use several pieces of equipment to help ensure your termite fumigation is as safe as possible:
- A fumiscope is used to measure concentrations of fumigant gas during the treatment process.
- Leak detectors are used to monitor for gases that may escape the treatment area.
- A clearance device is used to check for extremely low concentrations (1 part per million or less) of fumigant in the house before people and pets can return.
Fumigants do not leave residues on household items after treatment, once the home has been aired and cleared properly.