Termite Fumigation – How to Prepare Your Home

If you have ever experienced a termite infestation in your home or know somebody who has, you know how upsetting and stressful it can be. Not only do termites cause expensive damage, they are also expensive to get rid of. In fact, termites cost homeowners more than 5 billion dollars in treatment and repairs each year. There are two types of termites: subterranean and drywood. Drywood termites cause the most damage in the US and can only be eliminated by tent fumigation.

Why Choose Fumigation?

In some very mild cases, spot treatment can eliminate all drywood termites in a home. But in most cases, by the time termites have been detected, the infestation is full-blown. Tent fumigation is the only way to kill 100% of the termites in a home.

Yearly inspection by a pest control expert can prevent mass infestation.

About Fumigation

For over 50 years, Vikane gas fumigant (made by Dow AgroSciences) has proved to effectively eliminate drywood termites. This is the gas of choice for all termite fumigators in the US. Vikane gas is quick-acting and does not leave any residue. However, it is still a dangerous toxic gas and can cause death. Proper fumigation preparation will ensure that you and your family stay safe and that your belongings are protected. The fumigation process will take a few days, so you will need to make arrangements to stay elsewhere during the process.

Fumigation Preparation

Follow the instructions given to you by your fumigation company. Speak to your neighbors and inform them of your termite problem and your plans to fumigate as it could work to your advantage. Often, more than one home in an area will have a termite infestation. Some pest control companies will give a special discount to neighbors who fumigate at the same time.

Tip: Preparing your home for termite fumigation is time-consuming. Do not leave it to the last minute. Preparation involves lots of packing and sorting. Plan to start at least a few days before the fumigation date.

1. Call the Gas Company – In most cases, your fumigation company will call your local gas company to notify it of the turn-off time for the gas. Clarify with your fumigator whether you need to make the call or not.

2. Notify Your Neighbors – If you haven’t done so already, notify your neighbors that you will be fumigating. Sometimes the fumigators need access to part of the neighbors property. This is common in areas where homes are built close together. When neighbors’ consent is needed, they will have to issue official permission and a release.

Exterior Preparation

1. Clear the Perimeter – Clearing the perimeter of your property is a must so that the fumigators can secure the fumigation tent. Clear all items to at least 5′ away from the structure.

2. Unlock Gates and Doors – On fumigation day, unlock any gates and sheds. Fumigators are legally required to check all rooms to ensure that nobody is there before sealing the tents.

3. Water the Ground – Water will act as a barrier to the fumigant and will prevent contamination and damage to your plants. Water all plants and grass. If possible, trim plants back to one foot away from your home’s structure.

4. Remove Vehicles – All vehicles must be removed from attached and unattached garages.

Interior Preparation

Your fumigation company will provide you with special double bags called Nylofume bags. These will protect your food and medications. Unopened metal cans do not need to be bagged. All dry food products must be sealed in the bags, including:

• Food in plastic bags such as pretzels, macaroni, etc.

• All medications

• Soaps and shampoos

• Cosmetics

There is some dispute about whether cosmetics need to be placed in the bags. Some fumigators say there is no need while others have a more conservative outlook. There is a common saying among termite fumigators: “When in doubt, take it out.” In other words, better safe than sorry.

1. Double check that all food and medications are properly sealed in Nylofume bags. Follow the specific instructions provided with the bags for how to properly seal in them.

2. Remove valuables. All of the drawers in your home will be opened during fumigation. Remove your valuables or store them in a safe.

3. Discard the ice from your ice maker and turn it off.

4. Remove plastic mattress covers, as they can trap the gas.

5. On fumigation day, remove plants and pets from your house, including fish.

Drywood Termite Facts:

• Appearance – Light brown, 6 legs, long, narrow, oval, 3/8″ to 1 inch long

• Commonly infest homes in warm coastal regions. California, Florida, Texas and Hawaii have the highest rate of drywood termites in the US.

• Drywood termites create colonies and live in areas you cannot access or see. Common areas where termites live include the roof and eaves, and deep inside walls, attics and crawlspaces. They can form colonies of up to 2,500 members.

• Can survive without any source of moisture or contact with the soil

• Drywood termites generally live, feed and nest in healthy wood with a low moisture content.

• Can infest wood-framed or concrete homes. Termites can pass through small cracks in concrete, as small as 1/32″.

Termite Prevention:

Drywood termite infestations can be prevented by occasionally checking for termite activity around your home. Small piles of sawdust-looking material and termite wings could be a sign that termites are in your home but have not yet multiplied and infested the whole place. Additionally, making sure firewood and scrap wood is stored at least 20 feet from the home will prevent termites from being enticed to your home. Seal cracks and crevices throughout your home, as this will prevent termites from gaining access to wood through small holes.