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How Effective is a Drywood Termite Fumigation?

Updated: Mar 5



If your reading this you're probably already considering fumigating your home and have a million questions. In this post we are going to focus on one main question, "How effective is drywood termite fumigation?" First and foremost, it is important to stress that fumigation is only meant to treat Drywood Termites. Other types of termites, such as Subterranean Termites, may require different treatment methods.


To best answer our question it is important to first understand a little bit about Drywood Termites biology. In Southern California we have the Drywood Termite, Incisitermes minor. Each colony of this species may consist of up to 1,500 - 2,000 termites each. In comparison to other termites, drywood termites colonies are considered slow growing, they only live in the wood and do not make contact or live in the soil around your home. The slow growing nature of drywood termite colonies is good news for homeowners because the damage produced happens over a long period of time. Another interesting fact, These colonies live in timber with moisture content of less than 12%.


According to a 2010 study by the University of Berkeley's Dept. of Environmental Science, "In California costs for treatments and repair of damage from drywood termites in California exceeds $300 million annually and are projected to increase." Drywood termites have a significant economic impact on homeowners in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County.


Dr. Vernard Lewis from U.C. Berkeley did a lot of really great investigative work on termites and termite treatments and list of his studies and publications can be found here www.nature.berkeley.edu/upmc/publications.php. As you can see he did a lot of really great research to help us know how to best treat and protect our property from termites and other insect pest that plague humans.


- Dr. Vernard Lewis' research has shown Fumigation to be up to 100% effective at eradicating drywood termite infestations within a whole structure. This is because the entire structure is being treated including all inaccessible or hidden areas.


However, there are some drawbacks that Dr. Lewis points out:

1) Tarpaulins used to cover the structure could damage delicate roof coverings

2) Food requires bagging and or removal from structure

3) Exterior preparation of structure including plants


A couple important points before we close. Fumigation is the most cost effective and economical solution to treat and eradicate your entire home of drywood termites. Also, do not be scared into making a quick decision to fumigate your home by a pushy salesperson, the slow growing nature of drywood termite colonies means damage produced happens over a long period of time. So, as long as you don't put fumigation off for another year or two, you have time to make a decision, your home will not fall down tomorrow.


We hope this helped answer some questions regarding the effectiveness of termite fumigation. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office, 805.651.3225, we will be more than happy to go over any detailed questions about fumigation. You can also check out our resources page that has great videos regarding termite fumigation and preperations, click here.


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