The Home Fumigation Process
You see what you think to be signs of termites at your home. What do you do?
First thing is to contact a professional, someone that you feel comfortable with to inspect the structure. BPC offers free limited inspections with no obligation. Don’t panic, termites have been around for a very long time and they’re not going anywhere. They are a fact of life in any warm, moist climate. Southern California is a beautiful area, but the down-side is termites and other destructive insects thrive in our climate.
Once termites have been located and identified by BPC Pest Control, an estimate is provided to the homeowner with the cost for fumigation. An inspection report is issued providing the owner with the location of termites noted, pricing, and warranty. The costs are determined by the cubic footage of the structure(s) and any attached patios, sheds, decks, carports, etc.
If the homeowner wishes to proceed with the fumigation, the first step is selecting the dates for the procedure. There are also forms that require signatures from the homeowner and/or occupant detailing what tasks must be completed prior to the fumigation. Once BPC is informed to proceed with the fumigation we can fill in the information on the forms and secure the dates for fumigation. The homeowner and/or occupant must sign and return all forms requiring signatures prior to the fumigation or the job could be postponed.
The homeowner must make arrangements to vacate the premises for two nights and three days. Usually by noon on the third day the homeowner can plan on returning to the residence.
All ingestible items that the manufacturer seal has been broken (mayo, ketchup, butter, milk, vitamins, medications, water, etc. must be either removed from the residence or placed in doubled NYLO Fume bags (BPC will supply these bags). If food items are not bagged as per instructions, when the fumigation crew arrives they will either bag the food or they will place items on the exterior of the structure to be fumigated. If there is an excessive amount of food items that have not been properly bagged, and the fumigation crew has to bag these items, there may be a charge for doing so or postponement of the fumigation.
The fumigation company will have the gas (if applicable) shut off prior to the fumigation. This is usually done in the morning of the date of fumigation. There are no Saturday shut-off services by the Gas Company. Please note there may be changes in this process if the fumigation falls on a holiday.
The homeowner is required to contact the Gas Company to have the gas turned back on. BPC provides this information and phone number to call in the forms that require signatures. This information will tell you what to say to the Gas Company. We suggest calling the Gas Company once your fumigation is scheduled, a day or two prior to your scheduled fumigation, and schedule your gas turn on giving the Gas Company the provided information.
Prior to fumigation, the homeowner will be asked to water all exterior plants at least 12 inches deep. This helps to protect the root systems from being damaged during the fumigation process. You may be asked to be cut back plants/foliage 8-10 inches from the structure to allow tarps to fall next to the structure and have a good seal. There may be some plant damage during the fumigation process. The crew will use all caution to minimize damage, but this is one of the downsides to fumigation. All potted plants should be removed from the interior and away from the structure as to not be in the way of the crew during the process.
Water and power must be on for the fumigation.
The crew must go on the roof to complete the tarping of the residence. If you have a tile roof the crew will do a pre-fumigation count of broken tiles and another count after the fumigation. The crew uses all caution to do as little damage as possible. Please remember the weight of the men plus the tarps can be an estimated 300-350 pounds. The roof structure and perimeter areas of the building must be walked on and damage may occur. Once again, the fumigation crew will use all caution to avoid as much damage to plants and roofing as possible.
Fumigation arrival times are a two to three-hour window and these estimated times are available in late afternoon of the day prior to your scheduled fumigation. Key(s) for access must be left onsite or at a location to be determined; if the homeowner is meeting the crew, they must be there when the crew arrives.
The fumigation crew will enter the structure and open closet doors and cupboards to make sure the gas goes into these areas. This also is a pre-fumigation check by the crew to make sure all food items, medicines, pets, people, etc. are removed from the structure and/or are properly bagged. If there is a vehicle(s) in the garage it must be unlocked and the trunk open to allow the crew to inspect for food items, medicines, pets, people, etc. The fumigation crew will require access to the attic if applicable.
If you are meeting the crew please take a moment to familiarize them with any unique, fragile, or sensitive conditions of your property, such as the location of the gas meter, pilot lights, circuit breakers, water shutoff, etc. Retract all awnings on the structure(s). If you are planning on staying at the residence in an RV, please make sure the RV is a minimum of five feet from the residence.
At times the fumigation crew may ask that a satellite dish be removed for the fumigation. It does not happen often but sometimes due to the size or placement it may have to be taken down. It would be up to the homeowner to have it re-installed and aligned. If it is necessary, the homeowner will be informed prior to the fumigation.
At times a property has what is called a zero line where a property may have a garage, shed, or a residence so close the property lines that it becomes necessary for the crew to step onto someone else’s property to place tarps on the structure(s) being fumigated. If the neighbor has plants growing on or adjacent to your building, there may be plant damage. Neighbor’s pets must be kept in their home or removed from their yard, thereby preventing them from going under the tarp and being exposed to the fumigant. When this occurs, the neighbors are required to sign a release stating they are aware of your fumigation and that it is ok for the crew to step on their property. On rare occasions a neighbor will not sign, and the fumigation cannot proceed.
All pets (dogs, cats, birds, fish, etc.) need to be removed from the structure(s) and the yard being fumigated. It is recommended that birds stay out of the residence an additional 24 hours.
The crew place tarps on the roof to drop down over the structure. Once they have all the tarps in place clamps are used to tighten and secure the tarps. Once this has been completed, sand bags (they look like tubes) are placed around the bottom of the structure to secure the tarps in place.
The crew places floor fans at different locations in the residence for better air flow. The gas is then shot into the structure. During placement of tarps there will be an aeration tube placed for aeration during the fumigation. It takes approximately 1-1/2 to two hours for the gas to enter an average residence. Once the gas is shot the tarps will stay on until the morning of the third day.
On the morning of the third day the crew will begin removing the tarps and clearing the structure for re-entry. This process includes metering the interior until it is safe for re-entry by the occupants. Re-entry will usually be by 12 noon on the third day unless otherwise instructed.
Upon completion of the fumigation you may see an increase infestation of ants. The ants are entering your residence to consume the dead termites. This is normal. BPC Pest Control understands that fumigating your home can be an overwhelming undertaking that may seem daunting at times, but BPC is here to help you get through this procedure with as few problems as possible.
Fumigations have a three-year warranty. Should you see signs of what you believe to be termites you may simply contact our office and we will send a technician out to inspect the area(s).