The Ultimate Guide to Termite Detection & Prevention

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Termites are absolutely the last thing a property owner wants to experience. These pests instill terror. They are tiny insects that consume wood and cellulose-based products. They can cause significant damage to buildings, furniture, and other structures while looking for wood to consume. Indeed, a stitch in time saves nine when it comes to termite infestations. In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the knowledge you need to know about termite tenting, termite fumigation steps, and alternative tenting techniques.

In all cases, it’s always wise to leave termite treatment to professionals, especially where strong chemicals or complex techniques are involved. Professionals know how to deal with different pest infestations and can help you eradicate termites for good.

How to Detect Termites in Your House: Warning Signs

Termite season in California typically begins in April. This is when swarms of these wood-eating insects emerge from their lairs in quest of new colonies and mates. Swarms can also form in heated houses during the winter. As a homeowner, you should learn to recognize signs of termite infestation and seek treatment before the damage worsens.

Signs of termite infestation include:

Mud Tubes

Termites, especially the subterranean kind, build mud tunnels to travel between the ground and your property, looking for food and new colonies. The presence of mud tubes on your structure’s foundation may suggest termites.


Termites reproduce by swarming, so look for these flying terrorists near your windows and doors in the spring.

Discarded Wings

Swarming termites shed their wings. Look for small, delicate wings on the floor or windowsills.


Termite droppings are known as frass. They look like sawdust and are often left near the affected area.

Stuck Windows or Doors

Termites prefer exposed and easily accessible wood, such as the frames on windows and doors. They chew through the frames, causing them to bend such that the door or window feels stuck when opening or closing.

Hollow-Sounding Wood

Termites devour wood from within, hollowing it out. Examine the wood for a hollow sound by tapping on it.

Structural Deterioration

Aside from jammed doors and windows, termites can also cause structures such as baseboards, floors, and ceilings to crumble or drop. However, structural problems may have other causes, so inspect for termites’ presence before taking action.

Paint Or Wallpaper Damage

Termites construct tunnels and tiny entry and exit holes while feeding on wood paneling underneath wall surfaces. They can do this without harming the surface’s paint or wallpaper. Inspect for peeling or discolored wallpaper, buckling wood, or termite exit holes.

What To Do If You Suspect A Termite Infestation?

It’s not easy to tell the presence of termite activity, so if you suspect an infestation, bring in a professional for an inspection and assessment. A specialist can assess the colony’s size and the damage’s degree.

Cost of Termite Inspection

It is intended to identify the presence of termites, the kind of termite, the degree of the damage, and the kind of treatment required to make things right.

Termite Types and How to Get Rid of Them

Dampwood, dry wood, and subterranean termites are the three varieties common in the U.S. These usually have an impact on the type and cost of treatment.

Subterranean Termites

These are the most prevalent and pernicious types of termites in the U.S. They hide beneath your property and are quite tough to remove. Baits or insecticides are generally used on these types of termites.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites feed on dry wood in a home. They make holes in the wood, looking for soft cellulose for food. To get rid of dry wood termites, exterminators often use baits, chemical gels, or heat.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites consume damp wood. Eliminating standing water and dead or moist wood from your structure helps keep these pests away; this may entail re-grading your land.

Termite Treatment

Once the investigator confirms the existence of termites, they will assess the degree of the infestation and devise an appropriate treatment strategy. Termites can be eradicated from a property in various ways. Tenting is one of these techniques, and it is typically used when dealing with a large infestation of damp- or dry-wood termites. Because these termites do not reside beneath the soil, tenting and treatment works great.

What Is Termite Tenting?

Termite tenting is a termite control method that involves closing the infested structure from the outside and injecting a treatment. The treatment penetrates the entire structure, eliminating termites and other pests. The technique is used to handle and eliminate termite colonies and is usually carried out by professionals.

Termite Tenting Costs

Termite tenting is an excellent solution, but it is frequently far more expensive than basic methods. Of course, the cost varies based on the structure’s size and the infestation’s severity. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,500 for treatment in a single-family home. Infestations in multiple flats or a large business complex can cost $5,000 or more to treat.

The cost also depends on the type of termite tenting treatment used. Termite tenting is a broad term that encompasses termite heat treatment and termite fumigation. However, termite tenting can also be classified according to the extent of the structure it covers, i.e., whole-structure tenting vs. local termite tenting. Here’s a detailed breakdown.

Types of Termite Tenting

Tent Fumigation

Tent fumigation is a pest control technique used to control and eradicate dry wood termite colonies. It entails enclosing a structure with a tent-like cover and flooding the tent’s interior with a gas toxic to termites. Tenting is often used in cases of extensive termite infestations. After some time, usually 72 hours, the professionals will return to clean the area.

The gas employed is inorganic, which means it evaporates completely from the property after fumigation. You won’t even have to wash your furniture, clothes, or dishes afterward. You also don’t have to worry about odor.

Heat Extermination

Thermal treatment is a popular organic pest control method. All pests have thermal death points, and by raising and maintaining the temperature of an infested structure to an intolerable level, you can exterminate the infestation.

The process is often referred to as “structural pasteurization.” It’s a great alternative if you have a damaged immune system, are chemically sensitive, have asthma, or are concerned about chemical solutions. You will not even have to leave your house.

Heat Treatment For Termites

Regarding heat treatment for termites, experts seal the building and introduce hot air, gradually bringing the core temperature to the desired maximum. They then maintain the temperature level for around 2 hours to eliminate the termites.

Can Heat Kill Termites?

Yes, heat can destroy termites. To use heat to eliminate termites from a structure, raise and maintain the temperature of the structure core between 120F and 140F.

Heat Treatment vs. Fumigation

As already mentioned, heat treatment involves using hot air to raise the temperature of a structure to a level lethal for any termites present. On the other hand, fumigation consists of the use of gases toxic to termites. Therefore, heating is a more organic approach and is preferred by folks who are worried about chemicals for one reason or another. It’s a more targeted and less disruptive approach.

However, it can be expensive in the case of an extensive infestation. Tent fumigation is more thorough and suitable when dealing with whole-structure treatments but prepares for an extensive disruption.

Whole-Structure Tenting vs. Local Treatment

Termite tenting can be used as a local solution or whole-structure treatment. Local treatment focuses on the accessible part of a structure, so treatment is limited to known termite colonies. However, termites frequently live in regions we do not see, such as walls, ceilings, and beneath the flooring.

Additionally, they often enter a structure through numerous points. The only known method for eliminating even undetectable termites is whole-structure treatment. It entails enclosing and fumigating the whole structure. However, it will cost you extra.

Preparation Of Termite Tenting

While termite insecticides do not leave any long-lasting residues in a home, it is always important to follow the advice of a professional when preparing your home for fumigation. Some of the tasks you’ll have to complete include the following:

Clearing the Area for Tenting

The first step is to trim outdoor shrubs to make it easier for pest control professionals to tent your home. Some exterminators may volunteer to do it for you but may charge you extra. Clearing the area yourself will lower the overall cost of the project. Also, make arrangements with your gas provider to have someone come and switch off the mainline two days before the fumigation starts.

Next, prepare your home for fumigation. Remove or raise the blinds so the gas can pass through the windows. Remove all plastic mattress covers so that the fumigant can penetrate.

Protecting Belongings and Furnishings

Take precautions to safeguard your furniture and belongings. Make sure all food is stored in sealed containers. Place open containers in special nylon bags or remove them from the property. Leave all drawers, safes, doors, and desks open, but remove any pets from the house just to be safe.

Preparing for Tenting Disruptions

The amount of time needed for termite fumigation varies. Indeed, it can take anywhere from six hours to a whole week. It depends on the size of your home, the degree and kind of infestation, the temperature, the treatment, and other factors. Therefore, prepare for tenting disruptions. Because you’ll be away from your home during this period, water plants around your home a day ahead of termite tenting; this will protect them against any leaked fumigant gas. Also, remember to bring clothes and other necessary stuff for your stay away from home.

Benefits Of Termite Tenting

Termite tenting is an effective technique for eliminating a termite infestation. It’s great because it allows heat or killer gas to penetrate deep into the structure and eliminate hidden termites. Tenting your property with a pesticide will destroy the entire termite colonies, potentially saving you money on replacements and repairs.

How to Protect Your Foundation from Termites

There are a few steps you can take to protect your foundation from termites, including:

  • Using appropriate drainage to reduce moisture in the soil surrounding your foundation
  • Sealing any holes or cracks in your home’s foundation to keep termites out.
  • Ensure there is no wood-to-soil touch, as this can offer termites a direct passage into your home.
  • Inspect your home regularly for evidence of termite activity.
  • Maintaining clean gutters, as blocked gutters can cause water to accumulate near your foundation.
  • Using termite-resistant components when constructing your home.

Common Entry Points for Termites and How to Seal Them

Termites can infiltrate your property via a variety of entry points; the most common ones are:

  • Cracks in your home’s foundation
  • exposed wood close to the foundation
  • Gaps around doors, windows, and other openings
  • Vents on the roof and in the plumbing
  • Pipes and wires that enter your home

To seal these access points, caulk crevices and gaps, apply weatherstripping around doors and windows, and utilize termite-resistant products when constructing or upgrading your home.

Strategies for Maintaining Moisture Control in and Around Your Home

Maintaining moisture control in and around your home helps prevent termite infestations. Some strategies for doing this include:

  • Putting in gutters and downspouts to keep water away from the home’s foundation
  • Checking for leaks in the plumbing and roofing.
  • Regularly cleaning and examining your gutters
  • Ascertaining that all landscaping flows out from the home’s foundation
  • Keeping your garden and lawn from becoming overwatered
  • Keeping your crawl spaces and attic properly ventilated

How To Maintain Your Landscape To Reduce Termites

Keeping your landscape in good condition is essential for preventing termite infestations. Simple routines such as cutting trees, shrubs, and other plants away from your property and foundation help keep pests like termites at bay. While at it, remove dead wood, logs, stumps, and other waste from your property, as these are the most excellent termite magnets. Also, if you use firewood and other wood products, keep them away from your property and foundation.

Remember to put a metal or concrete barrier between your house and the soil. This is especially true if you reside in a termite-infested area. Treatments are only successful against active colonies; given enough time, termites will always return. Use a barrier to keep them out of your home.

FAQ About Termite Infestations and Treatments

What Are The Warning Signs Of Termites?

Warning signs of termites include mud tubes on exterior walls, hollow-sounding wood, and discarded wings near windows and doors. It’s also possible to smell the presence of termites. They have a distinctive smell that becomes evident after it rains or the conditions get humid.

How Do You Tell If You Have Termites Under Your House?

If you suspect you have termites under your house, examine it for the following signs:

  • Swarmers/winged termites inside the house
  • Discarded wings along doorframes or windowsills
  • Hollow sounding wood
  • Cracks or holes in drywall or wallpaper
  • Mud tubes on external walls or the foundation
  • Visible damage to wooden structures.

When Should You Worry About Termites?

You should worry about termites if you observe any signs of their presence in or around your home, as they can cause significant damage to wooden structures. Be sure to sound the alarm before the structure starts to collapse. It is vital to be vigilant for termites in areas with high infestations. In this case, it is recommended to have regular inspections by a pest control professional.

Can You Have Termites And Not Know It?

Yes, you can have termites and be unaware of them. Termites are known as “silent invaders” because they may live in places humans don’t always see, such as walls, beams, and beneath floorboards. They feed on these structures, only being easily discovered once significant damage occurs. This is why it’s essential to be aware of the signs of a termite infestation and to have regular inspections by a pest control professional.


The signs of a termite infestation are often difficult to recognize due to their small size and stealthy nature. However, the presence of little mounds of wood-colored dust, aka “frass,” in crawl spaces or around the bottom of your walls should be enough to make you take a second look. Other indicators of termite presence include mud tubes, hollow-sounding wood, and flying termite wings. If you suspect you may have a termite infestation, it is best to get in touch with a professional exterminator to assess the situation and provide a treatment plan. Tenting is usually one of the most recommended methods.

Installing a tent over the area and dissipating heat or insecticide is effective, especially when dealing with a significant termite infestation. But termite tenting is best done by a qualified professional. DIY tenting can put you and your loved ones in danger, especially where strong chemicals are involved.

We are here to help. If you suspect a termite problem on your property, schedule a termite inspection with one of our experts. We are a California-licensed Branch 3 operation with over 30 years of experience eradicating wood-destroying pest organisms and wood repair services. You can rely on us to keep termite colonies and other pests away from your home and property. We can determine the type of termite and the extent of the infestation before recommending the most effective treatment. Call us today to learn more about our services.

Gentry Termite – Your home is your most important asset. Keep your home treated and controlled by experts.  Needing termite tenting?   We come out and inspect your home unlike other inspectors. Our inspectors have over 30 years in inspecting and termite control!

Termite Inspection and treatment

Keeping up-to-date on your yearly home inspection and treatment mitigates such damage.  It is said that not completing yearly local treatments creates multiple infestations all at once!  With Gentry & Associates, our custom inspection programs is designed for your type of home!
Questions other  homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

how to prepare for termite tenting

Please watch the video below to help you understand the process.  Feel free to call to schedule an appointment!

Questions other  homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

How long does termite tenting last

Typically it will take three full days to kill all termites.  We will walk you through the process to ensure all safety steps are completed.  See your tent fumigation list.

To Kill 100% of Termites takes Termite Tenting!

As you may already know, homes need a periodic termite inspection. Gentry & Associates specializes in termite control. Feel free to look around to learn more about Termite Infestation prevention. Here at G&A, we are confident you will be well pleased with our courteous service. Fill out the form, and one of our courteous team members will call you to discuss setting up a free termite inspection. We look forward to assisting you!

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