What Is Termite Tenting?

termite tent wrapped around a house

Termites can cause extensive structural damage to your home that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. If the infestation is severe, traditional termite treatments may fall short, and you should consider using termite tenting. In this article, we’ll discuss termite tenting, how it works, and whether it’s the right choice to safeguard your home.

About Termite Tenting

Termites are tiny pests that feast on wood for cellulose. Traditional methods like liquid termiticides, bait stations, and foam treatment may eliminate these pesky creatures. But if the infestation is severe, you should use termite tenting. 

Termite tenting is a complex treatment to eradicate severe termite infestations. It involves enclosing the entire structure with a large tent and filling the space with sulfuryl fluoride to eliminate termites throughout your home. The gas penetrates cracks, crevices, and the core of wooden structures. 

Sulfuryl fluoride is a colorless and odorless gas effective against dampwood, subterranean, and drywood termites. It also works against rodents, roaches, bed bugs, carpet beetles, and wood-boring beetles. Only licensed professionals are allowed to use this gas. 

Termite tenting usually takes 24 to 72 hours, and you must leave your home during the treatment. Fumigation costs $1 to $4 per square foot or $10 to $20 per linear foot.

Termite fumigation is effective for five years. We recommend combining this treatment with termite liquid or bait station treatment for longer results. 

Termite Tenting Process

1. Inspection

damaged wood with termites
Photo Credit: frank600 / Canva Pro / License

A licensed termite specialist will thoroughly inspect your property to determine the severity of the infestation and whether tenting is necessary.

2. Prepare

Termite fumigant is toxic to humans and pets, so you must vacate your home during the process, which can take three days. Before leaving, here’s all you need to do:

  • Bag up food and medicines and take them with you. 
  • Unplug and cover electronic devices. 
  • Cover plants and furniture. 
  • Turn off gas appliances. 
  • Keep utensils inside cabinets. 

3. Seal the Structure

Once you vacate, the pros place tents over the entire structure and seal it to the ground. The goal is to create an airtight environment to prevent the fumigant gas from escaping. 

4. Introduce Fumigant Gas

The pros fill the space with sulfuryl fluoride. It penetrates wood, walls, attic, and even the tiniest gap to eliminate termite colonies. Most pros use fans to circulate gas throughout the house. 

5. Aerate

After enough fumigant exposure, a termite specialist will remove the tent to allow the gas to dissipate safely. They use fans to circulate fresh air throughout the structure. The gas takes about 12 hours to dissipate from the house. 

6. Inspect

closeup of termites with a magnifying glass
Photo Credit: AnuchaCheechang / Canva Pro / License

A licensed professional will take an air sample from your house and test it with special equipment to ensure it’s safe to return. The sulfuryl fluoride level should be one part per million or less. 

7. Clean

When you return, thoroughly clean and ventilate your house to get rid of any lingering fumigant gas. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean dead pests. Do this before bringing back your kids and pets. 

If you have respiratory issues, we recommend hiring a pro to clean. 

Safety tip: Wear gloves and a respirator when cleaning to prevent allergic reactions. 

Pros and Cons of Termite Tenting

Pros of Termite Tenting

termites tenting on a house
Photo Credit: Bill Oxford / Canva Pro / License
  • Kills termites entirely: Since the entire structure is sealed and filled with fumigant gas, termite tenting eliminates termites of all life stages throughout your property. 
  • No structural damage: This treatment doesn’t require drilling, so you don’t have to worry about damaging termite-infested structures during treatment. 
  • Quick results: Termite fumigation provides immediate results, unlike other methods that require multiple treatments or take weeks to show results. 
  • Long-lasting protection: This treatment is effective for at least five years. Combining fumigation with liquid treatment or termite bait station gives you longer-lasting results. 

Cons of Termite Tenting

  • You must vacate: Termite tenting uses harmful chemicals to eliminate termites. These chemicals can be toxic to humans and pets. So, you should vacate your home for at least three days, which can be inconvenient and disrupt your daily routine. 
  • Cost: Termite fumigation is effective but costs significantly more than traditional termite treatment. 
  • Health risks: Fumigation isn’t harmful to humans and pets when done right. However, if you have respiratory issues or are sensitive to chemicals, you should take extra precautions, such as staying out for two more days and hiring a pro for cleaning. 

Is Termite Tenting Safe?

High levels of sulfuryl fluoride can be toxic to you and your pets, so you should vacate your home during termite tenting. Licensed professionals will handle the fumigants safely and perform clearance inspection with specialized equipment to ensure your home is safe for re-entry. 

Proper cleaning and ventilation after you return inside can help you get rid of any lingering fumigant gas. 


Should I choose spot treatment or termite tenting?

Spot treatment provides quick and targeted control against subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites. Termite tenting works well if the infestation is severe. Call a termite specialist to assess your property and help you make the right decision. 

Is there a non-chemical alternative to termite tenting? 

Thermal remediation is a non-chemical alternative to fumigation. Termite specialists use industrial heaters to increase the temperature within your home to 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat penetrates the wood structures and eliminates termites. This treatment requires you to vacate your home, but you can come back after eight hours. 

What are the best termite control companies?

  • Orkin
  • Terminix
  • Arrow Exterminators
  • Ehrlich Pest Control

When to Call a Professional 

Termite tenting is the most effective solution to get rid of extensive and stubborn termite infestations. Pest Gnome connects you with the best termite specialists in your area who can help you eliminate termites from your property. 

Main Image Credit: Bill Oxford / Canva Pro / License

Abdul Wadood

Abdul Wadood has a lot of experience battling creepy crawlies in his house, from termites to cockroaches and mosquitoes. He wants to share his valuable insights with homeowners to help them keep unwanted guests at bay.