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Termite fumigation: What to expect

Termite fumigation treatment, also known as structural fumigation, encloses your property with a tent and releases precise amounts of gas fumigant into the tent. The fumigant gas penetrates deep into the structure and into hard-to-reach spaces such as attics, cracks and crevices, leaving your home free of termites.

When it comes to termite infestations, the best-case scenario is a solution that eliminates the entire nest with a single treatment. A few surviving termites can start an entire colony all over again. There are plenty of termite control methods that claim to be as effective as termite fumigation, but none of them offers the same level of guaranteed protection.

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Termite fumigation preparation

While fumigation eliminates 100% of termites, it also involves the use of powerful chemicals and requires homeowners to prepare the property to ensure successful treatment. The preparation process should be taken seriously and carried out prior to the fumigation treatment to reduce health and safety risks to family members and pets. These preparations include:

  • Make arrangements for accommodations - The termite fumigation process takes a few days and for your safety, you will not be allowed entry while the tent is up. Make arrangements to stay with family, friends or book a hotel.
  • Open interior doors between rooms - Although the gas fumigants can flow underneath doors, we ask for all interior doors to be kept open for optimal circulation.
  • Seal up food - Remove or seal any food or medications. Food or medications left out during the termite fumigation process must be discarded. 
  • Relocate plants - Remove all indoor houseplants and if necessary, relocate exterior potted plants that could potentially be damaged.
  • Rake the gravel - If you have gravel or mulch around your property, rake it back at least one foot from your home. This will help create a solid seal for the tent along the perimeter of the structure.
  • Leave us the keys - Our fumigation professionals will need to get inside your home during the termite fumigation process, so please make arrangements to leave us a key. We will ensure your home is locked and secure once the treatment is done.

Once the termite fumigation treatment is complete, Western Exterminator fumigators will remove the tents, return your keys and let you know when you’ll be able to re-enter your home. Your family, pets and plants will be able to return home, completely termite and worry-free.

Termite fumigation process

Termite fumigation does take some preparation on your end but there is no reason for concern. Western Exterminator has been exterminating termites for over 100 years and your termite control expert will walk you through the process, every step of the way.

Fumigation is one of the most effective ways to not only control termites but many other pests as well. It is typically a last-ditch effort in controlling pests but is often a necessary part of ensuring all pests are eliminated. The basic process goes as follows:

1. Before fumigation

There are a number of things you’ll need to do to prepare your home and accommodation arrangements will need to be made for your family and pets. We will provide you with a comprehensive set of instructions to ensure a successful fumigation treatment.

All food and medicine needs to be either removed from the home or sealed in airtight containers. Any plants, fences, antennas, or other objects outdoors that could obstruct the tent must be removed in order to provide full access.

2. Day of fumigation

Upon arrival, Western Exterminator fumigation professionals will enclose your property in a fumigation tent. The tent creates a solid seal around the structure and allows the fumigant gas to seep into the wood, reaching all nooks and crannies and wiping out the entire termite infestation.

A chemical gas will be administered, and fans will be used in order to thoroughly circulate the gas throughout the house. Warning signs will be clearly posted around the home to prevent visitors.

3. After fumigation

The tent is vented, leaving behind no surface residue as the fumigant gas dissipates entirely from your home. Spot treatments can be carried out as an additional measure to ensure no termites remain to re-infest the structure.

The structure will take a minimum of 12 hours to be completely aerated. No one will be permitted to enter the building until our certified fumigators have deemed it completely safe.

Western Exterminator technicians will follow up to ensure your property is protected from termites and that all risk factors have been addressed. With termites, prevention is key and preventative recommendations will be made to ensure your peace of mind.


Pros and cons of fumigation

Fumigation is often a last resort to remove an infestation from your home. There are a number of pros and cons to take into consideration when it comes to tenting your home:

Benefits of fumigation

  • Fumigating is a highly effective way of controlling termites inside the home, and it almost always has a 100% success rate.
  • Even though it does require you to leave your home, it is by far the quickest way to control an infestation.
  • Fumigation often eliminates other pests at any other stage of life inside the home.
  • When fumigates are pumped into the home, the gas can reach spots where many other types of treatments cannot.

Disadvantages of fumigation

  • Fumigation is inconvenient because it forces families to vacate their home for at least two nights. Homeowners are also responsible for preparing their home by cleaning, removing, and sealing items inside the property.
  • Fumigation is a one-time treatment, meaning the gas does not provide protection from future infestations.
  • There is a chance tents used in the process may damage the roofing, gutters, and shrubbery around the perimeter of your home.
  • Even though proper precautions protect you and your family, fumigation uses toxic chemicals and gases to get rid of the termites.

Are there tentless termite treatment options?

Even though it’s effective, few people want to deal with the inconveniences of tenting your home to control termites. Fumigation not only requires you to leave your home for a few days, it is also the most chemically toxic termite treatment there is! Thankfully, there are many more treatment options available that work well to control infestations in your home.

Fumigation is almost always a last-ditch effort termite control method that is not favored by most pest control companies. Baiting systems, spot treatments, liquid termiticides, soil treatment, wood treatment, orange oil, and even heat or cold treatments are all methods that have been used as alternatives to fumigation to varying degrees at success.

What other pests are eliminated by fumigation?

Termite treatment will often kill pests other than termites that may be in the home at the time. Fumigation should effectively kill other bugs that may be infesting your property due to its potent gas. Because so many invasive pests can be controlled with fumigation methods, many homeowners will be happy to know that any pest in their home will be eliminated through this technique. That said, many non-chemical treatments will likely not work to completely eliminate or control other pests in the home.

Although the fumigation technique is most often used for termites, it can eliminate many other pests present in the home or above the ground. While different dosages of fumigates are required for different pests, fumigation is known to kill some of these other bugs:

Orange oil, baiting systems, and other methods of control have all been reported as killing other bugs in the home, but every situation is different. It’s best to consult a professional pest control company who can inform you on what techniques are most suited for the individual pests.

Is termite fumigation toxic?

When administered properly by a trained pest control expert, termite treatments are completely safe for you and your family. Many methods used to eliminate termites involve chemicals that could be dangerous when not handled properly. If applied correctly by a professional, termite control products are quite safe and people do not typically suffer from any residual effects. If proper precautions are taken before and after termite treatment, no one in your home should have to worry about unsafe conditions.

Experienced termite fumigation

Western Exterminator professionals have been eliminating termites for over a century. Our experts stay up-to-date with the latest methods and chemical formulations for effective treatment and prevention of termite infestations. Call us at 800-937-8398 or fill in our contact form to speak to one of our experts. We'll schedule a free termite inspection to determine the best termite treatment option for you.

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