Termite Fumigation: Tenting a House (Preparation, Process and Safety)

What is termite fumigation? In this guide, we’ll be looking at the preparation, procedures and safety tips involved when tenting a house for termites.

Termites are some of the worst pest issues to have. Of course, this should be no news to home or property owners.

Getting rid of termite problem the best way possible should be the major concern. In this article, we are most interested in helping you find a practical solution that work: Tenting.

Do you need to hire a licensed exterminator? Get free estimates from top services in your area.

Tenting a House for Termites

Termite fumigation is an often-used word when it comes to termite control, but what does it entail?

We urge you to read on in order to find out the processes involved. We will be discussing extensively on major aspects of fumigation.

Is tenting for termites necessary? Yes. Termite problems are not easy  to handle. A lack of understanding of the process makes it even more difficult.

So, without further ado, let’s begin our discussion.

Termite Fumigation Process

Before fumigation is recommended for your property, an exterminator needs to establish the presence of termites. As expected, this control method begins with inspecting for termites.

When the problem is established and a go-ahead is given, fumigation then begins. However, this involves a process.

For instance, there is a standard checklist for termite fumigation preparation that you should not overlook.

  • How Does Termite Fumigation Work?

It’s expected that only a licensed exterminator supervises the removal of people, pets, food, drugs and animal feed from the building.

The next step begins with covering the entire structure or area with tarps. These (tarps) are meant to trap gases within a structure.

The termite fumigation gas used, penetrates openings such as pores, cracks and crevices, hence killing all termites. Large tarps are used to cover structures before the fumigant is released.

Fumigation can take a day or more depending on the size of your structure.

  • Placing the Warning Agent

One of the vital steps when preparing for termite tenting is the placement of a warning agent.

For the sake of clarity, a warning agent like Chloropicrin is generally used. A small amount of this compound is used prior to the application of the fumigant (Vikane).

Chloropicrin is a colorless liquid which has a strong odor. The sole purpose for applying it is to prevent people from stepping into an area before fumigation.

Most fumigants such as Vikane are odorless, colorless and tasteless gases. These features increase the risk of exposure, hence the need for a warning agent.

In measured doses, the warning agent Chloropicrin causes tearing and eye irritations.

During the application of this warning agent, you’ll need a shallow pan and an absorbent material. The liquid is poured into a shallow pan containing the absorbent material.

Fans are needed to blow, evaporate and circulate this liquid within your structure.

  • Termite Tenting Preparation

Here is how to prepare for termite fumigation:

  1. Remove the content of fridges and freezers.
  2. Store food items in air-tight plastic bags. Ensure such bags are doubled. Do not use bags that are cut in any area.
  3. Take away your documents, computer and other sensitive electronics.
  4. Remove all medications, pills, tablet and cosmetics
  5. Place plants outside the fumigation area.
  6. Remove pets, their food and medications
  7. Dispose all dirt and waste, as well as bins placed beside your apartment.
  8. Open all doors, grant unlimited access to fumigators by giving them keys to every door in the house
  9. Switch off electricity and gas supply, as well as your air conditioning system.
  10. Remove pillows, sheets and mattress covers from your bedding.
  11. Empty your garage, remove cars, trucks, lawn mowers etc.
  12. Secure your source of water and ensure it cannot be contaminated.
  13. Ensure all windows are closed tightly
  14. Notify your neighbors that you’ll be fumigating your property. This will ensure they keep away their pets and kids.
  • Applying the Fumigant

Vikane gas is among the most effective and widely-used fumigants in the pest control industry. It is highly effective against termites. This gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless; and is meant for professional use.

A measured amount of this tenting chemical released into the structure penetrates everywhere within. Wherever termites may be hidden, they are unable to escape as it penetrates even the tiniest cracks, openings and pores.

Fumigators will install an inlet and outlet ventilation system before fumigation. Consequently, this comes handy when its time to aerate the building or treated area.

Aeration lasts for a specified time as determined by the licensed fumigator. Tarps are then removed only when the stipulated time elapses. But it isn’t safe to move in yet.

Air samples will need to be taken and analyzed to confirm whether it’s safe or not. Special equipment are brought on site for this testing purpose.

Your property is declared safe for entrance once your fumigator gives the go-ahead.

  • How long does termite tenting take? Fumigation for termites generally takes 3 days.
  • What is the best time of year to tent for termites? Although fumigation can be done any month of the year, you’ll obtain better results when you treat early.

We’ll recommend that you don’t delay termite treatment as there would never be a best time if consider the kind of damage these insects cause. It is important you know that termites work round the cock, 24/7 throughout the year.

The dryer the soil or wood, the more effective the treatment. This is because many termite chemicals bond better when moisture is less.

Nevertheless, the best time time to tent for termite is now. Get your property protected or treated as soon as you can.

Termite Fumigation Safety Tips

Is tenting a house for termites safe? Well, it depends. Fumigation can be extremely risky when safety measures are not fully observed. Luckily, licensed professionals ensure that  safety procedures are strictly adhered to.

However, this guarantee is only for persons who choose to use the services of professionals.

What we’re trying to say is the need to use the services of fumigation experts for safety reasons. Handling termite fumigation yourself is likely to go wrong on several fronts.

First, there’s the need to get the right equipment. These tools are required for accuracy and safety.

  1. The basic safety gear for termite fumigation include safety googles for the protection of your eyes.
  2. Safety helmets are also are requirement.
  3. Respiratory masks are indispensable when conducting termite fumigation yourself. This gear helps filter out harmful vapors and fumigant particles.
  4. Safety gloves and boots are also among things you must put on for adequate protection.

Putting on the right safety gear matters for persons carrying out fumigation themselves. However, for persons not skilled in this control option, we recommend hiring the services licensed termite fumigators. These companies offer comprehensive termite extermination while significantly limiting your exposure to harmful fumigants.

You only need to point to the problem and back off. The rest of the job is thoroughly handled with professionalism.

Of course you’d need to have a discussion with your fumigators. Food, drugs, pets and humans will have to get out of the way as well. You will also have to figure out where to stay within the duration of treatment as well.

  • Additional Safety Measures

It isn’t enough to use a warning agent such as Chloropicrin. A fumigator needs to conduct a thorough search of the building.

This involves taking a walk-through inspection of every room within the structure. We’ve earlier mentioned the removal of people and pets.

An additional safety measure is placing caution signs at prominent locations.

These signs notify the public of an impending fumigation exercise, hence warning against trespass.

Lastly, the use of secondary locks to secure all entrances. This prevents you or anyone for that matter to step into your home during fumigation, at least until it is declared safe for entrance.

Pest fumigation companies are required by law to abide by all safety methods.

Termite Fumigation Side Effects: Tenting Dangers

Sometimes, pesticides may persist after fumigation, so also do water-soluble fumigants which can leach through the soil, thereby contaminating surface water.

As a result of exposure, certain side-effects may be evident. You’d need to seek urgent medical attention when any of these signs are noticed.

Here are common termite tenting dangers that can affect you or your neighbors:

Exposure to a fumigant such as Vikane may result in nausea, weakness, lung and nose irritation, stinging eyes and vomiting.

Other side-effects include slow gait, irritability and numbness among others. These are only the side effects of mild exposure to Vikane.

Severe exposures can be much deadly and present long-term health risks. These may be due to improper handling or application of the fumigants.

Cleaning Up After Tenting for Termites

After fumigating for termites, the next thing to do, is carry out a thorough cleaning of your property.

It is better to get a professional cleaning company to handle this for you. Such services are skilled in post-fumigation cleanup. Some professional fumigators also offer this service, hence the need to find out if your termite exterminators do.

Adequate aeration of your home after a termite fumigation is something you must do. Your fans should be on and windows fully open to allow for adequate ventilation.

While some fumigants are odorless, others aren’t. So, if by chance you perceive anything unusual, you’d need to stay out of your home for some couple of days.

This time should be sufficient enough to fully dissipate the smell.

Did you forget to remove your curtains, table cloths and bedding before fumigation? Wash these thoroughly and also shampoo your carpets.

How Long to Wait After Termite Fumigation

It’s no secret that you’ll need to stay out of your property during fumigation until it is safe enough to move in. However, the question a lot of people asks is “how long.”

How long do you have to be out of your house for termite tenting?

This depends on several factors, one of which is the type of fumigant used. In the case of Vikane gas, you may need to stay out of your home for a period ranging from 1 – 2 days.

This period may be longer when using other fumigant agents. Methyl bromide for instance will require upwards of 4 days.

Whatever it takes, we recommend you stay out for a sufficient period of time. Extend the specified time by a day or two for complete dissipation of fumigants. This way, you’d be doing your health a lot of good.

What to Do With Food During Fumigation

It’s no gainsaying that food and edibles need to be kept out of the way before fumigation. However, knowledge on how to store such foods is necessary.

What needs to be removed when tenting for termites?

  1. All consumables like drugs, beverages, pet food, medicine and food should be stored in nylofume bags.
  2. You do not need to worry about medicines, food, spices and other consumables that have airtight seals from the manufacturer. These items should be safe enough to keep around.
  3. To be extra careful, make sure to check your office desk drawers, medicine cabinets, refrigerator, freezer and pantries. Remember, nylofume bags are best to pack food items into.

These are the basic steps to follow when fumigating for termites.

Fumigation is one of the best ways to get rid of termites. Nevertheless, the process comes with attendant risks that you cannot afford to ignore.

If you are looking for quotes, here is a guide detailing the cost of this procedure.

Above all, you shouldn’t have problems with termite fumigation if you follow all the tips we’ve shared. You’ll also need to follow recommendations given by the licensed fumigation company you hire.

Do you need to hire a licensed exterminator? Get free estimates from top services in your area.

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