Any Truly Green Alternatives to Termite Tenting?

Any Truly Green Alternatives to Termite Tenting?

Michelle Chin
Oct 19, 2011

This last week, I had my 2-story garage tented for dry wood termites. I didn't want to use toxic gas (Vikane, also known as sulfuryl fluoride), but both eco-friendly pest control companies I called for inspections advised that I go with tenting to save the structural integrity of the building. But, even now, I have my reservations and regrets if it was the right solution because of the toxicity involved.

I researched the heat method of fumigation (where they heat the building to 125-130 degrees for 36 hours), the freezing method (using liquid nitrogen in targeted areas by drilling holes throughout the building), electrocution and microwave treatments (like freezing, needs to be very clearly targeted for useful treatment), as well as XT2000 orange oil. For the record, heat is the only other whole structure method deemed effective in California.

The solutions where boring holes through the walls wouldn't work because it seemed like every nook and cranny of the building had termite fecal pellets. It would have entailed turning the building into Swiss cheese. I was told the heat method could damage the roof and that microwave and freezing were ineffective. Orange oil was my only other option, but at 2/3 the price as fumigation ($800 vs $1200), I was told that I'd be lucky to get 65% eradication rather than 100% and with the intense level of the infestation, they only recommended fumigation.

The problem with my garage is that it wasn't treated prior to my purchasing the property, like the main structure was. I don't know about other states, but in California, the inspectors and home warranty folks only care about the main residence, so if you have a detached garage or out building of some sort, you are out of luck if you don't know the ins and outs already. This is something to keep in mind if you're looking to purchase a home. I had no idea until after I moved in that the garage was completely infested with dry wood termites. I actually had an ant infestation because of the termites. The ants attack and eat the termites and I found an entire colony of ants numbering easily in the hundreds of thousands coming out of a roof vent. If only I could have depended on the ants to take care of the entire problem. That would have been ideal!

So, the question you know of a better solution that really works? Not just things you've read about or heard about academically, but solutions you've personally experienced. There is a lot of conflicting literature out there on the web and I'd like to help other readers with real world answers about the alternatives listed above or other options from our community.

(Image: Jeff Banke/Shutterstock)

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