Blog: Preparing for Fumigation

Photo courtesy of Andy’s Termite

In certain parts of the U.S., drywood termite infestations are not only a widespread problem, but also an expensive one, affecting entire apartment complexes and condominium buildings. A single colony in a single apartment can quickly infest neighboring apartments, causing damage not only to the building itself but also to your furniture and other belongings these voracious pests might find appetizing.

It’s important, not only to you, but also to your neighbors in the building – and to nearby buildings – to eliminate every colony. The only way to ensure the pests are eradicated is with whole-structure fumigation. Spot treatments are ineffective, and other alternatives have neither the proven effectiveness nor the long-standing record of success that fumigation has.

Renters and Residents

There are several things you can do to help ensure the success of the fumigation and the safety and protection of your personal belongings.

Preparing food, feed, drugs (including tobacco products), and medicinals
  • Double-bag any food items that have been opened (that is, the original manufacturer’s seal is broken) in special Nylofume bags, seal them tightly, and leave them in the home. This also includes consumable items such as medicines, tobacco, and pet foods. Nylofume bags are nylon polymer bags that protect food items during fumigation. If in doubt on what to double-bag, remove the items from your home.
  • Only consumable items in glass, plastic, or metal bottles, jars, or cans that still have the original manufacturer’s seal can stay in the home and do not need to be double-bagged. For example, a 2-liter bottle of soda with the manufacturer’s seal would not need to be double- bagged.
  • Unopened wine and liquor bottles can remain in the house during fumigation, but only if the original seal is unbroken. Visually inspect each bottle to determine the seal integrity. If the integrity of the seal cannot be determined visually, the wine bottle or other packaged liquor must be removed or double bagged in Nylofume bags.Note: ALL corked wine bottles need to be stored horizontally (on their sides).
Sealing Nylofume bags properly to protect food, feed and medicinals
  • Double-up the Nylofume bags before you fill them, by putting one inside the other. Research has shown that these nylon polymer bags are very effective when used one inside of the other.
  • Seal both the inner and outer bags after they are full. Starting with the inner bag, twist the top, double it over, and secure with tape or a twist tie. Repeat this procedure with the outer bag. Test the bag by gently pressing against the bag and checking for air leaks. No air should be able to escape. Your fumigator can provide Nylofume bags and instructions on how to use them.
For information about using Nylofume bags, including how to seal them properly and which foods should be bagged or removed from your apartment, please see “To Bag or Not to Bag,” (PDF) available in English and Spanish.
Preparing the rest of the apartment or condo
  • Remove or peel back waterproof covers on mattresses and pillows to avoid trapping gas inside.
  • Open all doors and drawers to cabinets, closets, and appliances.
  • Open blinds and drapes so the fumigator has easy access to windows for the aeration process after fumigation.
  • Remove pets and interior houseplants from your apartment or condo.
  • Give the fumigator or your landlord keys to all locked areas to your apartment or condo. If your car is in an attached garage that is to be included in the fumigation, please make sure you supply the keys for it, too. Cars, cabinets, safes, and other locked items or rooms will need to be unlocked throughout the fumigation process so that the fumigator can inspect them and aerate them according to label requirements. If you don’t wish to leave them unlocked, provide the fumigator with the keys so that he can perform the required checks.
  • The professional fumigator will check that all food items are double-bagged and that everything is ready for fumigation.

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