Pest Resources

How do Termite Fumigations Work?

In this article, we will give you information on how the termite fumigation process works. We will also give you all the information you need to know about how to prepare for the termite professionals’ arrival. 

Termite infestations are treatable, so do not worry, help is out there. Fumigation is a very good method to control termite infestations.

Fumigation is one of the methods used, and will treat drywood termites and their colonies. This type of fumigation is also known as structural fumigation.

A drywood termite can destroy your property. Termites are capable of eating their way through drywall, which is used for ceilings and walls. The panels are covered by thick pieces of paperboard, which is partly made of cellulose. Termites can feed on the paper in the drywall and cause heaps of damage. They adore a nice bit of thick wood beam.

Drywood termites live inside wood, so treating the soil in the garden, as you would for the subterranean termite, would be a waste of time.

Want to know more? Please read on.

How to prepare for termite fumigation

  • You and your family will need to find other accommodation for up to 3 days and 2 nights during the termite fumigation process.
  • Open the doors to all rooms to allow the fumigant to flow through the house.
  • Make sure all food is put in nylofume bags (these will be supplied to you) or removed from the house.
  • Any gravel or leaves and debris should be removed from around the house at a distance of one foot from the walls. This will allow for the tent to be installed.
  • If you can, remove any plants that are very close to the house. Potted plants will be easier to move.
  • Put up warning posts to let local people know what is going on.

Remove from the house before termite fumigation

  • Any pets and other animals, including fish
  • Perishables
  • Electrical items
  • Indoor plants
  • All family members

Pest control

Fumigation is a pest control method that is used in a house to get rid of dry wood termites. Once they get into the wood, it is the best cure. It is more difficult to prevent drywood termites, since they can get into the home easily.

Fumigation is a cure, not prevention. They can return. You should regularly check areas for a termite infestation within the structure of the home. Fill in any gaps you find.

How does fumigation work?

Your property is covered in a tent or tarps commonly known as tenting. The tenting covers the entire house and is made of nylon. A fumigant gas is released under the tent and because the tent is so enclosed, the gas is unable to escape from the seal around the tent.

The cost of tenting varies due to the size of the house. When you consider the cost of the damage being caused to your house, calling in a professional infestation control expert is worth the extra cost.

Pest management

You will need to hire a professional fumigator company that is licensed for this type of pest control. Hire professionals that have the proper qualifications for fumigating infestations.

With this method, the target pest is the termite, but other pests, such as ants, can be killed off in the process. It does not affect bed bugs or cockroaches, unfortunately.

The fumigation process

A schedule is put in place in preparation for the termite fumigation. A consultant from the pest management company will visit your house and give a cost for the process to get rid of termites.

The representative will go through what will happen and what you need to do in preparation for the fumigation.

You should at this time let the rep know if you have any unwanted animals on the property such as rodents in the loft, feral cats that visit, or even birds that are nesting.

This should be done before the date of fumigation so that the issue can be resolved. If you do not, fumigation could be cancelled or cause delays.

Bag up your food

For your safety you will be supplied with special bags (Nylofume) to place food in. These need to be tied securely, and you will be given a leaflet from the pest management team with instructions on how to seal them.

Take care when using the bags, as they are thin and can also cause static. Remove one from the pack at a time.

Food items that have an unbroken seal do not need to be double-bagged. The leaflet will also give instructions on what can and cannot be left in the house during fumigation.

Your pets food should be treated in the same way and bagged if open.

A check of the house will be made and any food not bagged or properly sealed will have to be removed by the fumigator.

Get the gas turned off

Gas at the property will need to be disconnected for safety reasons before the termite treatment can begin. This is a legal requirement and the pest control team will arrange this as part of the service.

Be on time

You must leave with your family at the day and time arranged with the pest management company. You will not be allowed entry again until after a professional fumigator allows you to.

Do not be tempted to return early. Come back at the day and time requested for your protection. If you and your family and pets do come back before the house has been fully aerated and cleared of the fumigant gas, you could be exposed to harmful gases.

Remember to give them your keys!

What happens while you are away during fumigation?

Before actual termite fumigation begins, the rooms will be checked for family members, pets.

The treatment process begins with the structure of the home being covered with tenting and secured. This fits neatly around the foundations of the structure and related attachments.

You can set up cameras throughout the home if you want to watch what happens during this type of pest control.

A set of fans are spread around the house for the duration of the termite fumigation treatment. They are put in place to help with the circulation of the air movement of the warning agent, fumigant, and also to ensure proper and final aeration and ventilation of fumigant from the structure.

The fumigant is then released through a network of small hoses into the air, located at various places throughout the home. Fumigant gas is released from large gas cylinders within the home. The gas will kill any termites and colonies in the space inside the tarp.

At this point, all main doors are locked.

After 24 hours, the tent is designed to let out some of the fumigants. After 24 hours, an inspection is made of the home for the presence of fumigant. They will be particularly looking inside drawers and cabinets to ensure the fumigant has gone and that you do not come into contact with it.

A licensed professional will then go through your home with specialized equipment to measure the molecular level for the presence of fumigant in the air.

Warning signs will then be taken down to complete fumigation treatments and a certificate of a fumigated home is attached to the front door. The certificate will have company details on it and a contact number should there be any problems in your home.

Do not remove this certificate until after your gas supply has been put back on, as some companies will not reconnect unless they see it to confirm the fumigation work process is complete.

At this point, you will be allowed entry back into your home.

You may find drawers have been left open and doors inside open, since checks will have been made for fumigant still inside.

What chemical is used?

The chemical used for these types of treatments is called Sulfuryl fluoride. It is an odorless, non-binding, non-residual product that kills drywood termites. It does not leave any residue, smell, or film.

When you come back home after a termite treatment you may notice a smell due to the material the tent is made of.


Before termite treatment be sure to empty your bins of rubbish, and do not leave washing up in the sink.

This could lead to a bad smell. During the fumigation treatment, heat builds up in the home, which will cause organic matter to decay quicker than normal, hence the bad smell.

To avoid the smells after fumigation, empty the dishwasher and empty all waste bins.

And finally,

We hope you have found this article helpful, leave the treatment of the termite infestation in your home to a professional.

You will need to do some preparation in your home for the treatment of these pests, but it will be worth it.

If you have any questions, please email us. We will respond as quickly as possible.

Good luck.

Final thoughts

And there you have it, a complete guide to tell you that flying termites do exist, why they exist, and what to do if you believe you have them in your home.

Don’t forget to keep checking in to Pest Resources to find out more information about dealing with your home infestations!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.

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