I've located a number of web documents with information on why tenting
is not the best and safest solution for termite control.
From Chris Smith's Guide to Less Toxic Home & Garden Pest Control:
"Some final advice: don?t let anyone talk you into tenting and
fumigating your house ? it?s expensive and unnecessary, and don?t
contract for monthly inspections ? one inspection a year is adequate.
For dampwoods, remove and destroy infested wood. Correct the
conditions (wood-soil contact, leaks) that attracted them. Chemical
controls usually aren?t needed.
For subterraneans, deal with a licensed pest control operator."
Chris Smith's Guide to Less Toxic Home & Garden Pest Control
(Note that his document and some others below are in PDF format, so
the Adobe Acrobat Reader is required. If you don't have that, visit:
"Structural Fumigations: Urban Source of Pesticides in the Air
Structural fumigation is an important urban source of air
contamination by pesticides. This is a common practice where a home or
other structure is covered with a plastic tent and filled with a toxic
gas. Every year, thousands of California homes and businesses are
fumigated with highly toxic pesticides to kill a variety of pests,
particularly termites. The pesticides are applied as a gas and the two
most common structural fumigants, Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) and
methyl bromide, are among the most toxic pesticides used today. These
factors make structural fumigation a dangerous source of pesticidal
air pollution that may result in unsafe exposures for people living
Since 1984, at least 19 people in California have died from methyl
bromide exposure, many of them after entering homes fumigated with the
pesticide methyl bromide.4"
From Jeff Hiatt who "specializes in control of termites using the
least toxic, environmentally friendly methods":
"Tenting your house and inducing poisonous gas into your living areas
of your home to kill Drywood Termites should be a last resort to any
home owner. In order for the gas to kill Drywood Termites, it will
penetrate the pours of the wood, along with all other pourous items
like carpeting, padding, matresses, sofas, linens, clothing, etc.
Tenting has been around for many years in the termite industry and has
proven to be good at killing existing colonies of Drywood Termites.
Tenting does not leave a residual to prevent re-infestation, if it did
you would not be able to re-enter your house. That being said, as soon
as it is declared safe for you to re-enter your home, so can
" Fumigations require tenting your home, which leaves security issues,
possible residual toxic pockets, landscaping to be crushed or killed
by fumes and possible roof repairs from negligent workers. Also
fumigants have reactants to many products within your home. You must
pack all food, remove all plants, fish and yes your pets. We all know
pet boarding isn't cheap. What a hassle to do all this and it still
will not stop them from coming back."
"Remember tenting is not a fix-all for pest control problems. Tenting
specifically targets drywood termites. Other pests, such as ants,
subterranean termites and cockroaches, are not effectively removed by
Consumerlaw.com Pest Control Checklist
"7. Q. WHEN DRYWOOD TERMITES OR WOOD BORING BEETLES ARE FOUND, MUST
THE STRUCTURE ALWAYS BE FUMIGATED?
A. No, fumigation is not always a required method of treatment for
drywood termites and wood- boring beetles. Fumigation is an
all-encompassing treatment in which the gases permeate the entire
structure, eradicating termites that are inaccessible, in addition to
the visible infestations. If an infestation is contained in a small
area(s), the termites or beetles may be eliminated by local
8. Q. WILL FUMIGATION ELIMINATE ALL THE TERMITES AND PESTS IN THE STRUCTURE?
A. No, subterranean termites require separate treatments to create a
barrier between the structure and their nest in the ground. "
Questions & Answers Regarding Fumigation
California Structural Pest Control Board
"Disadvantages of Fumigation
There are several reasons why fumigation sometimes may not be the best
means of pest control. These are:
The control achieved through fumigation is temporary -- there's no
residual action from fumigants. Where untreated populations of the
pest remain, re-infestation of the treated site can take place
Fumigants are toxic and often highly hazardous to the applicator,
requiring special precautions during application.
Fumigants must be retained in the gas form for a period of time to be
effective, often calling for extra supervision.
Fumigation must never be done by just one person, which requires added labor.
Some commodities or pieces of equipment may be damaged by certain
fumigants and must be removed or otherwise protected.
Fumigant activity may be greatly affected by temperature and humidity."
Utah Study Guide for Fumigation:
"Nonmonitored fumigation may not have enough gas concentration to kill
infestations, and failures may occur...
..Major issues to consider with the use of fumigants include the
difficulty of installing tarpaulins, the difficulty in determining the
proper dosage, the need to protectively bag food items, and the lack
of residual control. Residual control means long-term protection
(several years or more) from drywood termite attack. (Generally, only
chemicals added to or onto wood provide residual control.) It will
also be necessary to vacate the structure for 2 to 3 days while it is
being treated and then ventilated. Additionally, roofs may be damaged
by having tarpaulins dragged across them."
Drywood Termites Management Guidelines
termites "tenting is"
tenting unhealthy termites
"tenting your" termites
I hope this helps.