Frequently Asked Questions, Tent Fumigations

Tent Fumigation, or “Tenting”, is widely considered to be the most effective method for treating pest infestations (such as termite, bedbug, or German cockroach infestations) in an enclosed structure. It is a specialized service regulated by the State of Florida, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Brantley Termite and Pest Control is a fully licensed and insured provider of pest control and tent fumigation services (Lic. # JB5563).

Most general household pests can be managed with a regular pest control program, customized by a licensed Brantley Termite and Pest Control technician, to meet the property’s specific needs. The most common infestations that are treated with Tent Fumigations, however, are:
a)Drywood and Formosan types of Termites
b)Bedbugs
c)German Cockroaches
d)Wood Boring Beetles
e)Powder Post Beetles
f)Furniture and Carpet Beetles
g)Clothes Moths
h)Rodents

A typical Tent Fumigation usually takes 3 days and 2 nights from start to finish.

Day 1: A system of tarps is used to completely cover the structure. A pesticide gas is released into the structure that eventually envelops every part of it. The amount of gas introduced is carefully calculated based on various factors, such as the size and type of structure, the weather and temperature outside, expected exposure time, and the target pest. The structure is left this way, allowing exposure to the gas, for between 16 and 24 hours, again depending on various factors.

Day 2: The tarps are removed and a period of active aeration takes place where doors and windows are opened for approximately one hour while Brantley personnel are on the property to supervise. Then the doors and windows are closed and the structure is allowed to passively aerate through the natural air circulation of the structure.

Day 3: During the final stage of the Tent Fumigation, a licensed and trained technician uses a calibrated, highly sensitive infrared gas detector to test the air quality throughout the structure, to be sure that it is safe for re-entry.

Each structure is unique and certain specific preparation requirements may be necessary.  For this reason, a trained Brantley Termite and Pest Control Technician will visit the structure and discuss preparing for a Tent Fumigation, in detail, prior to the scheduled treatment.  In general, though, the following steps should be taken to ensure a quick and safe Tent Fumigation:

  1. All opened (not factory sealed and not in porous containers) food, drink, and certain other consumable items throughout the entire structure, including refrigerators and freezers, should be removed from the structure or double-bagged in the special Fume Bags provided to the customer by a Brantley representative.
  2. Key and access information should be provided to Brantley Termite and Pest Control prior to the scheduled treatment.
  3. If there is gas on the property it should be shut OFF and pilot lights are extinguished for the entire Tent Fumigation process.
  4. Power and Water utilities for the structure should be ON for the entire Tent Fumigation process.
  5. All people, animals, reptiles, fish, and live plants should be out of the structure for the entire Tent Fumigation process.
  6. All fences, screen cages, or attachments up against the structure should be removed prior to the scheduled treatment.
  7. Mulch, rocks, plants, trees, bushes, etc. around the entire perimeter of the structure should be raked, cut back, or moved to at least 12” – 18” away from the structure prior to the scheduled treatment.
  8. All rooms, closets, large safes, and other spaces of the structure should be made easily accessible by the licensed fumigator prior to the scheduled treatment.
  9. If there is any security system installed, it should be set to “disregard” for the entire Tent Fumigation process.
  10. A Contract & Prep Sheet should be signed by the customer and a Brantley representative.
  11. A method of payment should be confirmed prior to the scheduled treatment.

Due to the many factors that go into routing the Tent Fumigation crews every day, the many unforeseen circumstances that can delay them (such as traffic or weather conditions), and the care we take to complete each job safely and effectively, there is no way to know exactly what time of day the crews will arrive to begin each job. Brantley Termite and Pest Control is a quality oriented fumigator and as long as the property is prepared properly, all persons and pets have vacated the structure, and arrangements have been made for access to the structure, all no later than 7:30am on the morning of the scheduled treatment, customers do not need to be there when the crew arrives and are free to plan their day without much worry.

Two basic compounds are used during each Tent Fumigation.

a) Trichloro(nitro)methane, known under the brand names of Chloropicrin or Lacrythor, is a colorless liquid that is released as a high pressure vapor into a structure being fumigated. It is used in small doses by a licensed and trained fumigator as a warning agent during the fumigation process to deter entry. (For more information, see Chloropicrin or Lacrythor Product Label.)
b) Sulfuryl Fluoride, known under the brand names of Vikane or Zythor, is a colorless and odorless gas that is non-staining, non-corrosive, and non-flammable. Sulfuryl Fluoride is the preferred fumigant gas in the United States because it does not deplete the ozone and it quickly dissipates when released into the atmosphere. It is used to treat for pest infestations by a licensed and trained fumigator. (For more information, see Vikane or Zythor Product Label.)

Safe use of these products is a priority for Brantley Termite and Pest Control. During the Tent Fumigation additional locking devices are used to prevent errant or unlawful entry through the doors, all windows are secured, “DANGER” signs are clearly posted on various parts of the structure, a warning agent is released into the structure to deter entry, and a licensed and trained technician tests the air quality for safe re-entry.

Most mattresses are made of cloth, which is extremely porous. To the tiny molecules of Sulfuryl Fluoride, the microscopic spaces between the fibers are gigantic and the gas can slip in and out without being trapped. Leaving mattresses in the structure during the Tent Fumigation is advised so they can receive the full benefit of the treatment.

However, mattresses with removable plastic covers, especially crib mattresses, must be removed from the structure prior to the scheduled treatment.
Waterbeds, when filled, do not have usually have to be drained or removed. Sulfuryl Fluoride is not easily broken down by water and the water-tight bag helps keep the gas from becoming trapped inside.

Both Trichloro(nitro)methane and Sulfuryl Fluoride have been lab tested on various common household items. It has been found that neither compound will stain, leave a residue on, or corrode most items, including photographs and electronics.

In laboratory tests neither Trichloro(nitro)methane nor Sulfuryl Fluoride have been found to stain or leave any residue. The compounds dissipate completely during the aeration periods so there is generally no need to wash clothing, bedding, or dishes after the Tent Fumigation.

During the final stage of the Tent Fumigation, a licensed and trained technician uses a calibrated, highly sensitive infrared gas detector to test the air quality throughout the structure, to be sure that it is safe for re-entry. It is both dangerous and illegal to enter the structure before this time.

The products used during a Tent Fumigation do not have preventative qualities due to the non-residual properties of Sulfuryl Fluoride gas. However, as long as the Tent Fumigation is successful in eradicating the existing infestation, a re-infestation is unlikely, as long as the customer follows simple steps provided by the knowledgeable Brantley Termite and Pest Control staff for monitoring and maintaining the structure in the future.

Disclaimer: This page is for is general informational purposes only. All structures and treatments are unique and specific diagnosis, treatment, and preparation information must be obtained only from a licensed and trained technician that has visited the structure. Information regarding products, their uses, hazards, and precautionary statements must be obtained from product labels provided by their manufacturer(s) and/or the appropriate governing entity. Brantley Termite and Pest Control Services, Inc. is not liable for harm, injury, or death resulting from any incomplete information herein contained.