The Cost of Tenting for Termites

The easiest way to control; termites is by taking preventative measures, but is there anything that you can do once the termites have become established.

One of the most effective treatments for eradicating dry wood termites is termite tenting or fumigation. However termite tenting is not effective against subterranean termites such as the Formosan termite, but it can eradicate the dry wood termites.

The dry wood termites thrive tithing warm humid damp conditions and they often occur in coastal regions which means they are prevalent in California, Texas, and Florida, they are in North Carolina to the Gulf Coast. Knowing that you have a good chance of getting dry wood termites means that preventative measures are most effective, and cheaper.

The dry wood termites live in colonies but they do tend to be smaller than the colonies of subterranean termites. The subterranean termites have a rigid caste system with each group having specific jobs. In most dry wood species

This function is taken over by immature termites, which are the largest group of dry wood termites in the colony. The immature dry wood termites have to gather and forage for food, and enlarge the nest as well as feed and care the Queen, the younger immatures and the rest of the colony. The soldiers are a little larger and they are there to repel attacks specifically from ants.

A characteristic of dry wood termites is the fact that once there is no more food the whole colony dies off. This trait can be advantageous with a finite log, but unfortunately your house can provide food for years. If termites are left untreated then they will completely destroy your house. However once the colony dies it is not the end of the winged termites they produce new winged termites and then fly away from the nest to establish other new colonies.

To establish a new colony they need a small opening in wood, this may be in your home or in your neighbor's, they find an opening and then detach their wings as they no longer need to fly and enter the wood. Unfortunately a house can be a home for multi sets of dry wood termite nests as they start multiple colonies. Once they have entered their new home they seal the opening against ants. They also prefer to mate in the dark. The females mate immediately and produce a large amount of eggs ready to hatch. Once these eggs are hatched they need to be fed and the immatures will search out for more wood to feed them.

At this stage there may be no sign of the termites as termites, the only identifiable aspect at this stage is fecal pellets. These are characteristics of dry wood termites as the subterranean termites have liquid fecal matter. The droppings are small pellets that look like grain. At this stage they will be easier to eradicate by termite tenting so it is best to get expert help as early as possible. It may be that you will notice a large number of discarded wings around the entrance that the termites used to enter the wood.

Dry termites do not lay the maximum number of eggs until the colony has been established for several years. The maximum size of a colony depends on the availability of food and the environment. If there are multiple nests your house could be home to 10,000 dry wood termites.

Termite tenting involves treating the wood with a gas. Dry wood termites do not need moisture to thrive they do not need soil which is the medium that provides water to the subterranean termites. Termite tenting has been used effectively for over fifty years and it does eradicate the problem, whether the nests are in the home or in public buildings. The process is referred to as termite tenting because the house if effectively sealed with plastic sheeting to prevent the gases from escaping. Once it is sealed then the wood is treated with gas.

The process works and will eradicate a hundred percent of termites in a hundred percent of cases, which is why most pest control experts offer a guarantee. However there are disadvantages to this method the first is the cost it may cost $3,000 dollars to fumigate a house. Also despite being effective it does not deter future infestations of termites because there are no residual chemicals left behind. All living things have to be removed which means that all food and plants have to be removed as well as all the occupants of the house and the pets. As the gas is extremely toxic it may be necessary to vacate the house for days whilst the termite tenting is carried out. It is very labor intensive because all the cracks have to be sealed and it has to be carried out by a licensed practitioner. It is also better to pay for preventative treatment at the same time.

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By Frank Reece. Page last modified Nov. 10, 2008.

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