How Much to Tent a House for Termites?

  • If you have ever dealt with drywood termite or subterranean termite infestations, you know that this battle is challenging. While termite control average cost per square foot is zero, termite tenting cost is quite demanding, ranging from $1,200 to $2,500 for a 1,250 square foot house, and $2,200 -$3,800 for a 2,500 square foot house; 
  • You can indulge in direct wood treatment and regular maintenance as a prevention method, i.e., sealing cracks and performing upkeep on exposed wood. However, if the infestation is already ongoing, you’ll have to call for the termites inspection service and reach out for methods such as heat treatment, chemicals, or termite tenting.  
  • Deciding whether to fumigate your home will be hard, considering numerous factors, including several harsh drawbacks, such as the cost to tent. The article lists several pros and cons of termite tenting and reveals the average cost of termite treatment that companies offer to help you get rid of termites.

Termites are a significant threat to homes, particularly in warmer climates, but we can find termites in most of US states. 

They are tiny, ant-like insects (not related to ants; closer to cockroaches). 

They can cause severe structural damages to our homes by eating: 

  • wood, 
  • insulation, 
  • paper, and others;

What is tenting?

Unlike subterranean termites that live in the ground, drywood termites live inside the wood, i.e., our house structures, which is also their food source.

Getting rid of them is necessary since their cohabiting means that we’re piece by piece losing the foundation of our houses. 

What should homeowners do when they notice signs of termites infestation?

Can we deal with them alone, or is extermination company a must?

First off, let’s first define tenting.

Tenting: definition

Tenting, i.e., structural fumigation, is recommended for:

  • widespread, 
  • severe, 
  • partly inaccessible and/or difficult to locate 

drywood termite infestations. 

During the termite fumigation, the aim is to kill termites from the entire home using a gas method. 

A trained pest extermination company will place a tent (a tarp) over a house. 

Then, these pest control companies will release a fumigant (gas) throughout the complete structure of our property. 

As the fumigant circulates throughout the home, it reaches cracks and crevices between and inside wood where termites tunnel and thrive.

While breathing the fumigant in, we deplete termites of oxygen, which affects their nervous system, causing their death.

What happens after?

After the expert has confirmed sufficient exposure to infested areas, it’s time to remove the termite fumigation tent. 

Following this, the fumigant will disperse into the air. Yet, we shouldn’t hurry to enter the house! 

It will take around six hours for the fumigant to aerate.

The entire three-stage-long fumigation process (preparation, fumigation, aeration) can take 24 to 72 hours. 

It depends on the size of your home and the outdoor conditions.

After the termite treatment has finished, the extermination company will send the pest control expert to test each room in the house using a sensitive fumigant clearance device.

It’s necessary to ensure the fumigant has fully aerated and all house inhabitants (except those nasty drywood termites) can safely come back in.

Tenting is one of the most efficient methods for getting rid of termites from our houses. 

But drywood termite pest control is also possible in a variety of other ways. For example, read “How to Get Rid of Termites Without Tenting” in this article on House Rituals. 

However, if:

  • your entire home suffers from drywood termite infestation or 
  • its foundation is full of subterranean termites, 

there’s no hope that heat or chemicals will be enough as a treatment.

We treat less extensive infestations with termiticides injected directly into the wood or localized heat treatment.

In the case of severe infestation, treat termite colonies with fumigation.

Pros and cons of tenting

The question that many of us ask is: To tent or not to tent? 

There are several advantages:

Fumigations can help plant growth

Who could ever expect that soil fumigations can double plant growth?

While fumigants can present some risk to plants since we destroy plant-eating pests, the outcome may be positive after all. 

Also, fumigation eliminates pathogens (nematodes, insects, etc.). 

Complete eradication of pests

On the bright side, there is the expected effect of our action. 

Companies that offer tent fumigation service will help you get rid of termites.

They designed this kind of termite treatment fumigation to get into even the smallest nooks and crannies.

Proper fumigation should kill a colony of pests and set your house free.

And a couple of downsides:

Kills good organisms

Fumigation chemicals don’t negotiate conditions. Instead, they kill everything that they find on their way. 

It means that you could also treat good organisms that peacefully live in your home. 

We use soil fumigations as an extermination method for subterranean termites colony infestation.

They could kill natural predators that can keep pests in check, risking a re-invasion afterward. 

Fumigation may also cause nursery plants to struggle. Fumigation stops every microbiological activity in your home.

Fumigation is not prevention

Termite fumigation cost is high, but the treatment is effective. Yet, it’s not a prevention method, and drywood termites will be free to come back just a few days after the treatment. 

It means that even if your tenting treatment is 100% successful for all the active drywood termite colonies, you shouldn’t expect any protection against future infestations.

Damages 

Since pest control companies will use heavy tarps to hold fumigants in, these structures can easily damage gutters, shrubbery, and tile roofing. 

In some cases, you may need to take down items such as

  • antennas, 
  • satellite dishes, 
  • weather vanes, or
  • fencing 

so that the pest control company can cover the house with tarps well.

Long preparation

Since the treatment could not be more serious, there are no jokes with preparation.

Here’s what you need to take care of before termite treatment kicks off:

1. Total removal of all occupants, pets, and plants; 

Important: Put all indoor plants outside and away from home. Clear any plants and trim shrubbery from the areas which the fumigation tent will sit.

2. Decide how to protect medicine, food, open containers, and cosmetics;

Remove all food in cardboard boxes or bags like: 

  • dry goods, 
  • chips, 
  • rice, 
  • cereal, and 
  • cosmetics.

Tip: Food sealed in glass or plastic bottles, jars, cans, medicine, and tobacco can remain in your home. Double bag all opened food.

3. Gas service must be disconnected,

4. We have to extinguish pilot lights.

5. Water thoroughly the perimeter of your home to:

  • protect your plants, and 
  • help prevent fume leakage from the bottom of the tent;

6. Remove any mattresses sealed in plastic and take off any plastic mattress pads, chairs, or sofa covers. 

Important: The covers slow the rate of aeration.

Inconvenience

Last but not least, massive inconvenience. 

Imagine leaving your house and a considerable part of your stuff for a few days.

When you’re looking at the termite tenting from the outside and the whole process has a killing potential to say it’s stressful is to say nothing.

Fumigations involve flooding an area with toxic chemicals, so if you’re fumigating your house, you’ll have to move out for a few days to wait for those chemicals to disperse. 

This challenging process can disrupt your life. 

Fumigation cost

How much does termite treatment cost?

Termite tenting is expensive, but remember that fumigation with tenting is a much more comprehensive treatment than other methods. 

It involves more time, effort, and materials, which are all costly. 

Also, while the cost of termite tenting may seem high, it’s low compared to the cost of repairing the structural damage a large colony of dry wood termites can do in very little time. 

A termite inspection for dry wood termites or subterranean colony usually runs between $100 and $200, depending on the size of your home.

Some companies offer a free inspection to assess the extent of the infestation.

Costs of termite tenting price vary based on a few factors:

  • location of your home, 
  • size your home is in square foot,
  • the length of the fumigation and tenting; 

Termite treatment service cost for an entire home, on average, is:

  • $1,200 to $2,500 for a 1,250 square foot house, and 
  • $2,200 -$3,800 for a 2,500 square foot house;

The pest control company can determine tenting costs by a flat rate or linear foot, ranging from $5 to $20. 

Consider that heat treatment average cost is $10 per linear foot (an average of $800 to $2,500), and it’s believed to be a much less effective method for infestation. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Since the process involves chemicals, only specialized companies can perform fumigation. Extermination professionals need to complete extensive training and pass certification tests before working with these chemicals.
The gas used for fumigation is odorless and colorless. If you feel an unpleasant smell after the termite tenting treatment, a rat or other rodents may have lived in the attic, and the termite treatment killed it.
Termite fumigants don't leave permanent residues in a home or on household items. After the process, the pest control expert tests each room using a sensitive fumigant clearance device. They use a clearance device to check for low concentrations, reaching 1 part per million or less. After the fumigant has fully aerated, inhabitants are free to re-enter the house.
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