Fumigation for Termites: An In-depth Overview

How It Works

Fumigation, also known as “tenting”, is one of the most commonly used methods employed to kill drywood termites. During fumigation the homeowner’s house is covered in a nylon tent and the house is filled with a poisonous gas. Sulfuryl fluoride is often the gas of choice by exterminators. Over the course of several days the gas penetrates into the house’s walls and kills the termites.

The pest control company must ensure the air is safe to breath before the homeowner is allowed to move back in.

Average Cost

Termite treatment company Green Heat SD says the average cost to treat a termite infestation with fumigation will vary by location and pest control company. A homeowner should expect to pay roughly $1 per square foot of their house.

Application Time

The pest control company will have your home or structure tented in 1 day under most circumstances.

Treatment Time

Can range anywhere from several days up to a week. Factors such as severity of infestation, dosage, temperature, and size of structure will determine the required treatment time. The average homeowner can expect to vacate their home for about 2 days.

Hassle Factor

Clothes and food must be packaged up and removed from the house prior to treatment. In addition, the homeowner must not inhabit the house while it is being treated.


  • Only available method that treats an entire home or structure.
  • Can eliminate undetected colonies of termites.
  • Often the cheapest way to treat an entire structure for drywood termites.


  • Possible property damage from the nylon tent.
  • The gas does not kill termite eggs. However, if the tenting kills all the adult termites, there will be no termites to feed the newly-hatched nymphs.
  • The gas may not be able to reach all the places in the house the termites infest. This creates “safe zones” where future colonies can form.
  • Tenting will not prevent future infestations. The chemicals used during fumigation will only kill the immediate termites in the house.