Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is fumigation? Tenting? Bagging?
A: Fumigation is a method of using lethal gas to exterminate pests within an enclosed space. There are two methods of performing fumigation. One is to seal the structure with plastic tape or other sealing materials, and the other is by enclosing the structure in a “tent” of vinyl-coated nylon tarpaulins.

Q: What preparations must be taken before a house is fumigated?
A: All persons, pets and plants must be removed from the structure prior to fumigation. (This includes fish and seeds or bulbs intended for planting). Medicines, feed and food not sealed in metal, glass or highly resistant containers must be removed from the structure or sealed in protective bags a recommended by the fumigant manufacturer. Ask your fumigator any questions you have regarding the fumigation.

Q: How long does a fumigation take?
A: Structural fumigants are odorless. Therefore, fumigators are required to release a warning agent such as chloropicrin (tear gas) within the structure at the time the fumigation begins and throughout the entire fumigation process. Fumigation time is depending on several factors; square footage and type of chemicals. Most fumigations require owners to vacate for 2 ‘IA days.

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. Under optimum conditions, the target pest will be dead or obviously dying by the end of the fumigation. Drywood termites can remain alive as long as a week after receiving a lethal dose of a fumigant. Lethal dose vary for different pests, depending on tie type of fumigant used. It is entirely possible for household pest, (such as spiders, cockroaches, etc.) to survive fumigation with the dosage used for drywood termites.

Drywood termites and some wood destroying beetles generate small pellets or dust tint remains in the tunnels after the insects are killed. You may continue to notice these signs after fumigation. This DOES NOT necessarily mean the fumigation failed. Contact you fumigator if you have any further questions should this occur.

Q: How are occupants of a structure notified that fumigation will be done?
A: Before a structural pest control company applies a fumigant, it must have in its possession an occupant fumigation notice that has been signed by the occupant(s) or designated agent of a stncture. The occupant’s fumigation notice must state the pest to be controlled, the proposed pesticide(s), including their active ingredients, and the caution statement. This form must state that a lethal gas will be used in the building on indicated dates and that it is unsafe to return to the building until a notice of reentry is posted by the licensee in charge of the fumigation. The owner should receive a copy of the occupant’s fumigation notice.

Q: Who can enter a structure while it is being fumigated?
A: Chemicals used are lethal! Absolutely NO ONE can enter a structure until it has been certified safe for reentry by the licensee in charge of fumigation. Warning signs are posted in plainly visible locations on or in the immediate vicinity of all entrances. To ensure that even the owner or tenant cannot reenter a structure, the company is required to put a secondary lock on all outside doors that only the company can open.

Q: Are fumigations safe?
A: Fumigations are highly regulated by the State of California. To perform fumigations, companies must be registered with the Structural Pest Control Board. Pest companies may also be required to notify agricultural departments before fumigation takes place. The State Department of Pesticide Regulation registers all fumigants used in California and contracts with each County Agricultural Commissioner to monitor their use. If you have any questions regarding safety of fumigants, chemicals or pesticides, you may call your local County Agricultural Commissioner.

Q: Are there alternative methods available in lieu of fumigation?
A: There are alternative methods please see the home page of our website for further information under, “Fumigations: Myths & Facts”. Remember, alternative treatment methods have limitations.

Q: How does the fumigant leave the house?
A: Aeration: During the aeration, the fumigator aerates the structure with operable doors and window open and with the aid of a fan for a full hour before securing the structure and allowing a total of six to eight hours of additional aeration.