Termites devastate the United States each year and they leave behind damages that are worth millions, if not billions, of dollars. There are many methods of killing these pests and one of the most powerful and proven technique is fumigation. Fumigation is the only method of complete drywood termite eradication from homes or buildings and this act is accomplished with the use of a gas named Vikane (Sulfuryl Fluoride) which can permeate through walls and kill drywood termites in areas that are not visually accessible. This gas is colorless and odorless and does not leave any residues, but it is lethal. Since this is so, before fumigation, all individuals and even the surrounding areas should be prepared prior to the commencement. Here are some ways to prepare for termite fumigation
- 1. Before fumigation, the applicators should introduce small amounts of Chloropicrin or tear gas which acts as a warning agent. Tear gas is an eye irritant and it could also cause uneasiness on the respiratory system. The gas and warning agent will have dissipated prior to the property being cleared for re-entry and leave no residual traces.
- 2. The average home can prepare for termite fumigation by keeping inhabitants out (this includes pets such as dogs, cats, birds, even fishes). Anything that is alive and breathing should be taken out of the area that will be fumigated.
- 3. Seal all medicines and food in special bags called Nylofume bags (can be purchased directly from the fumigators) or remove all medicines and food from the home.
- 4. Take down antennas, weather vanes, and chimney caps.
- 5. Remove all mattresses and pillows encased in plastic from the house OR just remove the plastic casing. The only exceptions are waterbeds and pillows that are enveloped in waterproof pillow covers. As infant mattresses are plastic, these would need to be removed. Be wary of any type of stuffed toy that you let your infant hold or sleep with - When in doubt, take it out.
- 6. To ascertain that no one enters by accident while the fumigation is ongoing, secondary locks are placed by the fumigation company and they are the only ones who can open these locks.
The fumigation period for Vikane is approximately 16-30 hours. That is about 12-24 hours of waiting period and another 6 hours for aeration of the entire area. And during aeration, the fumigator fans the fumigated areas where all doors and windows should be opened. It will only be safe to enter your home when the licensee in-charge has certified that it is safe to go in.
The certification is always the final stage of the termite fumigation process. This means that a re-entry notice has been posted on the property. If, in case, any type of headache, dizziness, vomiting or coughing occurs even after aeration, make sure to contact your area’s local agricultural commissioner to make an incident report. After all the processes that you have undergone for fumigation, kick back and enjoy the fruits of your endurance. After all, there is yet another phase to go through to guard your home against termites for good, and that is the prevention of re-infestation.