Preparing for Tent Fumigation of Your Home

A house being tent fumigated

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Every year, thousands of homes, schools and commercial structures are tent-fumigated to control dry wood termite infestations. Although such fumigations must be conducted by pest control professionals, there are a number of preparation steps that need to be taken by the homeowner, or the landlord and tenants, before the fumigation can be done.

This preparation is necessary to protect your personal property, foods, pets, and landscaping. It is also critical for to ensuring the effectiveness of what is an expensive periodic treatment.

How to Prepare for a Tent Fumigation

Your fumigation service provider will give you specific instructions on preparing for the fumigation. Some of these require moving food and items off-site and finding a place for you, your family, and pets to stay for a few days. So all residents will need to begin to prepare for the fumigation service well in advance of the day.

Following are some of the general recommendations and instructions you should be prepared to undertake:

  1. Unlock and open all rooms, cabinets, desks, closets, attic hatches and safes.
  2. Remove all food from refrigerators, freezers, pantries and storage closets and move it off-site.
  3. Remove all linen from beds, mattresses, sleeping pads and closets and move these off-site as well.
  4. Raise all blinds and drapes to allow window access.
  5. Turn off all gas flames and pilot lights in fireplaces and for appliances such as water heaters, ovens, furnaces, refrigerators, washers, and dryers.
  6. Remove all pets including aquarium fish and caged animals.
  7. Remove all houseplants.
  8. Trim outdoor plants so that they are no closer than 12 inches away from the structure's exterior.
  9. Rake any rock, gravel, bark or landscape mulch, so that it is no closer than 12 inches away from the structure's exterior.
  10. Detach any fences that contact the structure.
  11. Provide a garden hose for use by the applicator. This will be needed to wet the soil around the structure to ensure soil penetration of the fumigant.
  12. Provide the fumigation service provider with a set of keys for the exterior door (and gate and/or garage if applicable). This not only enables entry for any work the provider needs to do if the residents are not home, but it also will enable the structure to be secured once the tent has been removed.
  13. Have your bags packed, the family and pets readied, and a place for all to stay for two to three days/nights, such as a hotel or friend's, neighbor's, or relative's home.

Timeframe of a Tent Fumigation

You will need to make plans to stay out of and away from the home during the fumigation and during the aeration period that follows. Although your preparation will likely require two to three hours, the fumigation and aeration periods will mean two to three days and nights away from your home. 

Your pest control professional will advise you of the amount of time needed for your particular fumigation and any other precautions and actions you will need to take.

What You Will Need to Complete Preparations

In order to complete the 13 steps listed above, there are some items you will need. These should be gathered well in advance of the fumigation day so that you are not held up in the middle of your preparations because you are unable to complete a step.

  • Plastic dishes with lids to store foods.
  • Plastic bins and totes for linens and non-perishables.
  • Plastic covers or sheets to protect mattresses and children's furniture.
  • Garden shears.
  • Garden rake.
  • Garden hose with outdoor bib or hookup.
  • Pliers and hammer.
  • Flashlight.
  • Keys to all locked household areas/items.
  • Lodging for at least 2 days for the family and any pets.

Preparing for a tent fumigation is not easy, but the method can be the best way to ensure the termites are eradicated. Always do your homework before selecting a pest control service.