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Alternatives to Tenting for Termite Control
Unlike most insects around your house, termites are dangerous pests that threaten the financial and emotional security of your home. According to the National Pest Management Association, the total spent nationally on repairing homes from termite damage is well over $5 billion. Tenting for termite control has long been the accepted and most effective method of exterminating termites, but natural and less toxic methods are gaining traction as people look for alternatives to using harmful chemicals.
What is Termite Tenting?
Tenting requires covering the entire home with a tent and using a gas that penetrates wood to kill the termites. The most common fumigant used is Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride), which is highly toxic and must be carefully administered. Homeowners need to remove their plants, protect food, board their pets, and find other accommodations for themselves for the three days required for this process.
Alternatives to Tenting
While fumigation is sometimes the only way to rid a house of an extensive infestation, most infestations are localized and allow for less toxic methods, especially when caught early.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs has endorsed heat as the only other effective, full-structure treatment for termite eradication. This method uses propane heaters to raise the temperature of the outdoor air to levels lethal to termites–between 120 to 130 degrees. Then, the heat is maintained for one to three hours. While this method doesn’t require homeowners to find other overnight accommodations, heat-sensitive belongings like computer equipment and other electronics, plants, and candles should be removed from the house.
This non-chemical treatment combines high frequencies and high voltage to penetrate the wood in your home with an electrical current. The electro-gun method is ideal when your pest professional has indicated the source of termites is in one or several areas in your home, such as your attic or basement.
Microwave is an effective method for localized, drywood termite infestations. This quick method directs microwaves at the infested area, penetrating the wood containing the termites. The microwaves turn to heat, almost instantly killing the termites.
Choosing the Right Termite Control Method
According to University of California, Berkeley professor Vernand Lewis, there are at least 50 termite species in North America, with 17 in California alone. It’s likely that any homeowner will encounter termites in their home at one time or another. To deal with them, the best place to start is with a termite inspection. Ecola conducts a complete inspection of your property and then develops a solution that fits your situation. If you think you might have a termite problem, call Ecola at (800) 332-BUGS (2847) to learn more about natural termite control.