Fumigation & 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 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 (or 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 temperature. 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 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 - not 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 can help your pest professional 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?
As with any work done at homes today, people ask if activities are safe. When tenting and fumigating for drywood termites, there are many precautions required of the company including security and training to address safety concerns.
How Often Should We Tent?
Fumigation for termites is the tenting or isolating of infested areas of homes and a specially formulated gas is used penetrates into all infested areas. Fumigation was used historically primarily for drywood termite infestations.
Structural Fumigation for Drywood Termites
Drywood termites do not access the soil for moisture; in fact they need very little moisture. Drywood termite control can be done by fumigation, or tenting a building or area of the building and introducing sulfluryl fluoride gas which penetrates all areas of the home and leaves no residue afterwards.
Tenting with Infants & Children
Any products used for fumigation must be evaluated by the EPA to reduce risks. The material used for tenting for drywood termites, sulfuryl fluoride, has safety requirements for its use and after the work is completed, there is no residue.
Termite Bombs & Foggers
Pest control foggers, commonly called bombs, can be used to control flying termites but are generally not effective against full infestations, whether they be subterranean or drywood termites. These products are available over the counter.
Termite Foggers & Bombs
Termite foggers and bombs are available to help control swarming termites; however, foggers will not control the termites that damage the wood. Do it yourselfers should know that termite control requires specialized equipment beyond foggers.
Termite Fumigation Gas
Sulfuryl fluoride is the most common gas used for fumigation of structures infested with drywood termites. It comes in a branded product and a generic form as well. Use of this product requires special licensing and training.
Termite Fumigation Preparation
Fumigation for drywood termite control takes significant preparation. There needs to be good communication between the homeowner and the pest control company and what each must do. Homeowners must leave prior to preparation and cannot return until the home is cleared by the professional.
Termite Fumigation Process
Fumigation for termites includes enclosing a tent around a structure and introducing specially developed gas, sulfuryl fluoride, into the tent. This is typically done to control drywood termites as subterranean termites are not localized.
Termite Fumigation Risks
Fumigation is the introduction of a gas into a structure. The gas is specially formulated to control termites and penetrate all areas of a fumigated structure. This is used for drywood termites. While the gas can be dangerous, special training and standards for use reduce risk.