Each year, nearly 100,000 tent fumigations are conducted in Florida. This number is so high because the cost of termite control and repair of damage from drywood termites in Florida exceeds $300 million annually and is expected to increase. The two most popular forms of eradication are spot treatment and tent fumigation for termite extermination. Scientists and industry leaders have proved time and time again that tenting is the most reliable and complete method for eliminating infestations of drywood termites, bed bugs and wood-destroying organisms.
What Is the Difference Between Spot Treatment and Tent Fumigation for Drywood Termites?
Many homeowners search for alternatives to tenting due to the inconvenience of vacating the home. For decades, professors at The University of Florida have researched alternative eradication procedures. This report written by Dr. Rudolf Sheffrahn and Nan-Yao Su, professors of Entomology at The University of Florida concludes that tenting is the only procedure that provides complete eradication of drywood termites.
Spot Treatment vs. Tent Fumigation
Facts About Spot Treatment
- Spot treatment only treats part of the home.
- Spot treatment can only kill termites if that colony location is found and treated.
- Spot treatment may not kill all termites in a colony, resulting in colony resurgence.
- Many areas in the wood framing of a home where termite colonies live simply cannot be inspected or accessed for adequate spot treatment – behind walls, in attic rafters and joists.
- Spot treatment may require drilling into walls or floors and moving furniture.
- Spot treatment typically requires repeated inspections and treatments.
- For spot treatment, the homeowner needs to be present to allow the operator into the home. If re-treats are necessary, the homeowner will need to be home each time for the treatment to take place.
- Spot treatments can leave an odor.
Facts About Tent Fumigation Using Vikane Gas
- Tent fumigation eliminates all drywood termite colonies, including undetected colonies in inaccessible areas.
- Tent fumigation treats the whole home.
- Tenting has proven effective in more than 2 million structures.
- Vikane gas is used only by trained and knowledgeable fumigation experts.
- Although homeowners are required to leave their home for up to three days during fumigation, they can return to a pest-free home without worrying about any type of pesticide residues being left behind – spot treatments can’t make this claim.
- Fumigation gas quickly dissipates from a home and leaves no surface pesticide residue behind.
- Vikane gas has been used for more than 50 years as the proven effective treatment for whole-structure fumigation.
- You have the option to invest in a warranty for drywood termite fumigation.
Why Termite Tenting Works Best For Termite Extermination
Vikane gas also known as sulfuryl fluoride, is gas used to fumigate structures infested with pests such as bedbugs, termites and other wood destroying organisms. Vikane is odorless, colorless, non-corrosive and non-flammable. Once Vikane gas is introduced into a structure, it accesses all areas and all air spaces. The gas quickly penetrates the pores of wood, traveling through cracks and crevices within minutes. For complete success, Vikane gas must remain in the structure for a specific amount of time, therefore tarps are used to trap the gas. Once the gas reaches the targeted pest, it disrupts the insect’s metabolism rate, providing total colony eradication. Vikane gas does not leave a pesticide residue on surfaces, therefore cleaning surfaces, dishes or clothing is not necessary.
Termite Tenting Procedure Overview
Tenting can sound overwhelming for anyone new to the process. We would like to offer you inside knowledge on the tent fumigation procedure so you can feel more comfortable and understand how this process works. Below is a step-by-step list of what the fumigation procedure looks like.
- The procedure begins with a full inspection of your property by an expert termite inspector.
- All problem areas are identified.
- The inspector creates a customized plan for your fumigation.
- Preparations must be made on the inside and outside of your home.
- A full list of preparations is explained after the initial inspection.
- Upon arrival, a supervisor inspects your home for living things.
- The supervisor then preps the interior of your home and mounts fans to circulate the Vikane gas through a hose.
- All operable windows are slightly cracked.
- Your home is finally locked and secured with secondary locks to prevent re-entry.
- Danger signs are posted to all outside doors.
- Your home is tightly wrapped with tarpaulins (tarps).
- Danger signs are posted on all exterior sides of the tarps.
- Because Vikane gas is odorless, a warning agent or tear gas is placed in front of a circulating fan to alert danger to all living things.
- Vikane gas is then introduced. A licensed technician uses a calculator to determine the amount needed.
- The tent will remain on your home for around one day, keeping the Vikane gas trapped inside.
- The company returns on the second day to deconstruct the tarps and aerate the home.
- Once the tent has been dismantled, your home is aerated for around one day.
- Your home is not safe for re-entry until notified on day 3.
- After your home is aerated for about one day, a supervisor returns to test the air for gas levels.
- For your safety, sophisticated electronic devices are used to take air samples of each room and determine the air quality.
- Notices are posted on the outside of the structure, permitting re-entry to your home.
- Your home is usually ready for re-entry in the afternoon on the third day.
- Important: The gas does not leave a pesticide residue on surfaces. You do not have to wash dishes, clean clothing or disinfect surfaces.
Subcontracted Work: Fumigation Industry Secrets
Over 90% of pest control companies subcontract tenting to wholesale fumigators. Many homeowners are unaware that the company performing the fumigation is different from the company selling the work. Sometimes homeowners never meet the company responsible for setting up inside their home, supervising personnel on their roof and providing quality control over this complex procedure. Cloud Termite and Pest Control does not subcontract fumigation. We feel this procedure is too delicate and dangerous to hand off to strangers. We can provide a better quality service by keeping the work in house.
For your safety, we are the only ones to enter your home on the final day to determine if the air quality is safe for you and your family to return. We use sophisticated electronic devices to read the gas levels in each room. We take air samples in every room and if the reading passes our inspection, we allow you back in. We don’t think we could sleep at night, putting your health into someone else’s hands.
When is the Right Time to Tent a Home?
We recommend tenting at all stages of infestations with bed bugs, termites and other wood destroying organisms. Some homeowners make the fatal mistake of spot treating in the beginning, because the colony may appear to be a smaller size. When dealing with insects that are difficult to access, such as drywood termites, it is best to properly stop the problem before it gets worse. Drywood termites are incredibly hard to access because they live deep inside the wood. Spot treating will only delay the inevitable expense of tenting. In order to save time and money, fumigate the property at any sign of infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fumigation
Do I have to clean up chemical after tenting my house?
Fumigation does not leave any surface residue. The gas is odorless, colorless and does not leave any chemical residual. You do not have to wash dishes or clean clothing.
How long is the fumigation process?
The fumigation process takes two and a half days. You will be back in your home in the afternoon of the third day.
What items need to be removed from my home?
All items for consumption (such as food, beverages, medicines), which are not intact in the original manufacture airtight containers (such as sealed glass or metal), must be removed from the structure or double bagged in Nylofume bags. All people, animals and plants must be removed from the home. Waterproof mattress covers and infant mattresses must also be removed.
Does fumigation leave a foul odor?
Vikane gas is an odorless fumigant. There are no foul smells left behind after the procedure is complete.
Do I have to remove makeup, lotions and shampoo?
Vikane gas does not leave a pesticide residue. Cosmetics, lotions and shampoo can remain in the home.
Should I remove the mattress?
Infant mattresses completely covered in vinyl or plastic must be removed from the home. Plastic mattress protectors must be unzipped prior to the procedure. All standard fabric mattresses can remain in the home.
What preparations are required before the fumigation procedure?
Preparation checklists are provided during the initial inspection.
Will fumigation solve my other pest problems?
Vikane gas will only eradicate living organisms inside the home. Once the gas has dissipated, other insects can return to the home. Ants often return to the home to eat the dead termites, therefore we recommend pest control services after tent fumigation. Fumigation will not eradicate subterranean termites.
How will I know when it is safe to return to my home?
A licensed supervisor will post clearance notices to the outside doors when the home is ready for re-entry. We will call you once the clearance notice has been posted.
Will fumigation prevent termites and other pests from returning?
Vikane gas is a non-residual treatment and does not leave any surface residues behind. Fumigation will not prevent pests from returning.
Will fumigation affect my pregnancy?
Air samples are taken in the home to determine if it is safe for re-entry. The EPA requirement is less than 1 ppm (parts-per million) in all breathing zones. Once this requirement has been met, it is safe for all persons and animals to re-enter the home.
Will fumigation affect my electronics or fabrics?
Fumigation does not harm electronics or cause staining to fabrics. The gas does not leave a chemical residue behind.
Will my house get tented in stormy weather?
Bad weather can delay fumigation, especially with strong winds and lightning.