Many people choose to have their homes fumigated to eradicate termites. This is a very effective treatment method that only requires the house to be vacated for a few days while the gaseous insecticide is in place.
However, the chemicals used during this process can harm your health. Especially when the air isn’t tested and cleared before reentry.
You’ve likely seen large stripped tents erected around houses and other buildings in some areas of the country, as fumigation has been a standard method to remove termites for decades. Known as structural fumigation, the process involves covering the building and releasing fumigant gases that reach every crevice and corner where dry wood termites may be nesting to choke and kill them.
During this process, your family must vacate the house for at least two nights. This means finding accommodations for pets, children, and other family members, removing all food from the home, and double-bagging any open items. You’ll also need to contact your gas company before fumigation and ensure they turn off the gas service.
The odorless fumigant used during fumigation is sulfuryl fluoride, which can cause breathing issues. This is especially true for those sensitive to air pollution, such as those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
You’ve probably seen the large striped tents surrounding homes and other buildings for termite fumigation Key West. These are to protect occupants from contact with the fumigant.
The main chemical used in structural fumigation for termites is sulfuryl fluoride, a colorless and odorless gas lethal to these insects but not affecting people or pets when adequately applied by licensed pest control professionals.
Before fumigation, a professional will advise you to double bag all food items, medicine, plants, and cosmetics in glass or metal containers or remove them from your home. You must also close your gas service and extinguish all pilot lights.
Fumigation is a treatment option for severe or dry wood termite infestations where other treatments aren’t effective. When the process is over, your pest control specialist will air out your home and open the seals before allowing you to return. It’s also important to follow preventative measures such as keeping trees and shrubs at least a foot away from your home, ensuring your foundation is dry, and reducing openings where termites might enter by caulking and sealing.
Termites help wood to decompose, and as they do so, they create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. This mold spreads through the air and can make people sick. It is also known that termite feces, commonly called frass, can contain pathogens that can cause human allergies.
While it is rare for termites to bite people, when they do, it can be painful and result in a rash. In addition, many termite control treatments, including fumigation, involve dust and cockroach allergens that can lead to allergy issues.
If you plan on fumigating your home or building, ask the fumigator what chemicals they will use. They should be able to provide a detailed list. Remove or seal in plastic bags any food, medications, and other items that may be exposed to the fumes. Only return to the space once a professional has tested the air and confirmed it is safe. Please do not bring pets inside the structure during fumigation; they will also be exposed to the chemicals.
The same fumigant that kills the termites, sulfuryl fluoride, can also negatively affect humans. If too much of it is inhaled, you may experience headache, rash, eye irritation, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, and more. If these symptoms are not immediately treated, they can become worse.
When a home or structure is fumigated, the entire interior must be emptied and sealed for the treatment to be successful. This is done using specialized tarps or tents that encase the structure. During this time, you and your family must find somewhere else to stay. Pets (including fish) and houseplants should also be moved to a safe place.
When fumigation is done correctly, it can be one of the most effective treatments for severe termite infestations. But if not done correctly, the fumigant used during fumigation can cause harm to people and pets. You must ask your fumigator for a list of the chemicals they use for treatment and do your research.