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Why Do Termites Swarm Your Home and How Do You Get Rid of Them?

Updated on February 8, 2019
Charlotte Doyle profile image

Charlotte is an artist, freelance writer, wife, homeschooling mother, and college student pursuing a Master's degree in psychology.

A home undergoing the fumigating/tenting process.
A home undergoing the fumigating/tenting process. | Source

What are Termites?

Termites are insects that are small and quite pale. Their bodies are soft, and there are many different kinds of termites. Different kinds of termites prefer different kinds of environments, that's why it's important to differentiate between them so that treatment could be effective and long-lasting. Many types of termites prefer to food on wood items, and they can be extremely destructive to any timber and trees.

What are the different kinds of termites?

There are forty-five various kinds of termites special in the United States. They fall into one of three categories. These are damp wood, subterranean, and dry wood. The termites that mostly affect Florida are the Formosan subterraneous termite, which is also known as the coptotermes formosanus. Other termites in Florida are the cone head termite and the desert termite. A clue that termites have been in one's home are discarded wings that are found near window areas or other entry sites. Ants do not shed their wings, but termites do, especially near spring's mating season for termites.

Why are Termintes Harmful?

Termites might sting, and they might bite as well. They do not carry disease, but they do cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions due to the dust that they leave behind. Ventilations systems and heating systems can aggravate the fecal dust of the termites and the nests of termites. Termites, as mentioned before, also cause a great deal of damage to wood structures and can lower the property value of a home and even cause portions to fall apart and crumble.

What is Termite Tenting?

Termite tenting I also known as fumigation. It is a treatment for dealing with the termites that are active and considered dry wood termites.

How does tenting, or fumigating, a home work?

This kind of fumigation is called tenting because a home is completely sealed off to allow the gas to poison the termites, as it fills all the nooks and crannies of the home. The insecticide used will kill off the termites and most of the other bugs that are living in the home. Tenting works for termites that dwell in the home and structures, but it's not effective for subterranean types of termites since tenting isn't efficient for underground usage. That subterranean termite type of fumigation includes the price of termite trenching, which increases the cost of the overall project. There is a tenting that involves high amounts of heat, instead of chemicals, to kill the termites.

What special considerations need to be considered for tenting?

A family that is tenting their home needs to have alternative housing for the time that tenting is occurring. The doors should be open through the home to have access to all the room. Anything that is a food item should be covered. This also accounts for Pet food. Alcohol and drinks sitting out should be stored in.

What length of time does it take to tent a home?

Fumigation is a process that takes three days for Dry wood Termites. It takes four days for Beetles. Applying tarps can take two hours, and this depends on the home and structure of the home. Three days is standard. Some less thorough fumigation could be six hours, and for terrible infestations, fumigating could take a week. Again, this depends on factors such as the size of the home, temperature and dosage applied to kill the termites. Pets and houseplants should be removed from the home as well.

Can treatment for termites harm a person?

There has been some controversy over the chemical that is used for tenting. The chemical is called sulfuryl fluoride, and it supposedly stays in the atmosphere for 100 years. The gas is a very potent greenhouse gas that can have damaging effects on the environment. Exterminators have to be skilled to properly measure the air's concentration of sulfuryl fluoride within the home, especially before and after allowing the home's residents to enter back into the home. IF tenting seems a bit too risky, one can try baiting, which is cardboard that contains a slow releasing poison. Or one can also try liquid applications, which is a barrier that is poisonous which prevents termites from entering the soil. When a termite cannot enter the soil, and they are stuck in the wood structure, they will die. When Tenting is the only choice, due to severe infestation, it is recommended to entirely follow all the precautions that carefully ensure safety.

Eliminating Termites is a Large Investment

Tenting a home does have some required prep work for it to be successful. If a home is not successfully prepped, the family can be put at a huge risk. One's home is a large investment. Protecting this very valuable and important investment is essential to maintain and upkeep one's property value and the home's structural integrity. It's best to call around for quotes to find out a fair price by a reputable professional. Tenting should never be attempted by an individual, especially one with no prior knowledge of the process or chemicals involved.

© 2018 Charlotte Doyle


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