Termite Tenting Safety Issues Explained

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If you have an infestation of termites, termite tenting your house is a great way to get rid of them. Preventing termites is easy but sometimes the best is not enough. When termite tenting, always use a reputable contractor who’s licensed, bonded and registered. Be prepared to spend two nights away from your house and make provisions for your pets as well. Usually, you should be able to return to your property within 60 hours.

People and Pets

Before termite tenting begins, the contractor will want you, your family and your pets out of the property. This even includes goldfish. You won’t be allowed to return until the fumigation is complete and air quality tests have been taken. These consist of samples from all the rooms in the house, which are checked for any traces of the fumigant. You cannot enter the property until the contractor places a re-entry notice on the front door. Only then is it finally deemed safe for human habitation again.

You should always have the gas shut off to the property before you vacate it, and only have it switched on again when you’ve been given the all clear to re-enter. As the homeowner, you’ll need to be present when the gas is reconnected and present the certificate of re-entry.

Food, Furniture and Plants

The contractor will ensure that all your plants and food are removed from the house before termite tenting begins. These can be stored by your contractor and then returned once the house has been declared safe again. The food will be kept in special Nylofume bags during the tenting process. Food in the refrigerator can stay in the house.

You’ll need remove all mattresses that are enveloped in plastic. These cannot be allowed back into the house until you have a re-entry notice.


Your house will be empty for two days, making your home a target for thieves. However, the contractor will place secondary locks on the house to make it more secure, and will also post warning signs to let people know a dangerous fumigant is in use.

Contractors also use chloropicrin for security in your property. This is a colorless liquid that has a strong odor. It causes irritation of the throat and makes the eyes water. It acts as an extra level of security to keep people out of your property.

Containing the Fumigant

To stop the spread of fumigant when the termite tenting is underway, the contractor uses a tent made from large tarpaulins. These are kept in place at the foundation using “sand snakes,” which are long tubes filled with sand to stop fumigant escaping into the neighborhood.

The Garden

Although the fumigation shouldn’t harm any of the plants in your garden, it’s advisable to cut back any foliage and branches to keep them at least 18 inches away from the house. This lets the tarpaulins hang properly too.

After the Fumigation

After the termite tenting is complete, you won’t actually need to wash clothes or towels before you use them again. Since a gas is used, it dissipates quite readily. The same is true with dishes and pans, although most people will prefer to wash these items before using them again for cooking and eating.