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Old 06-19-2017, 07:56 PM
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Question Termite Tenting...

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My family is tenting the house for termites in a little over a week and I want to make sure I'm covering all my bases in making sure my parrot is safe.

Obviously, the parrot will be safely away from the premises. We were told to stay out for 3 days, and I have plans to board her for 4 days. I'm not sure she'll like that much -- since she's fully flighted, the employees won't be able to play with her :'( I'll be picking up a very grumpy parrot 4 days later, LOL.

All her toys and food will be living in my car. Her cage will probably be kept in the backyard with a sheet overtop in case wild birds land on it while it's out there -- or I might disassemble that and keep it in my car too, if I'm feeling extra paranoid. The bag of chop in the freezer will be transferred to my grandmother's home temporarily.

This is the obvious stuff and as I've been researching it, I've discovered the toxic chemicals can potentially lurk in clothing and bedding (as well as carpet, but we have hardwood fortunately). I have a lot of clothes, but I can maybe keep most of it in the back of my car also (assuming there's room left) in addition to my bedding.

These are the only things I can think to do to prepare, but obviously the entire house's worth of furniture cannot fit into the back of my car. I presume I will have to do some OCD cleaning on the furniture and flooring once we return to make sure it's safe. I'm not an OCD cleaner in general, so some suggestions here would be appreciated. In particular, I want to focus on cleaning our cloth couch and table since the parrot enjoys walking across those surfaces.

Am I missing anything ? I've never had to worry about a tenting before -- some personal experiences and advice would be greatly appreciated !
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:07 PM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

I am NO expert at all when it comes to getting rid of bugs and the effects it could have on pets, but I did have my house exterminated about six months ago. I simply removed everything related to my bird, disassembling the cage (it doesn't fit through doorways, unfortunately) and placing the pieces in a storage unit outside. Lucille stayed at my parents' house for 3 nights, 4 days, and I saw no ill effects after she came home. I also have hardwood floors. Of course the chemical compounds are certainly different, but I hope that experience eases your mind a little. I know that I was a nervous wreck bringing her home.
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Old 06-20-2017, 03:54 AM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

As a suggestion read everything the company and or makers of the gas have put out there.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:04 PM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

Quote: Originally Posted by plumsmum2005 View Post
As a suggestion read everything the company and or makers of the gas have put out there.
Then add two - four days and remember to well ventilate the home and wear-out the wash machine, wash everything!
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Old 06-20-2017, 10:11 PM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

No help here, just this mental image that popped in my head of your car, lol.




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Old 06-21-2017, 12:57 AM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

The guy from the extermination company came by to give us some literature. I peppered him with questions, in particular asking if this particular gas could stay in clothing/fabrics. He assured me this was not possible, as the melting/boiling point of the gas is very low.

Which I do not find particularly comforting. I'll be reading the literature carefully, but with a grain of salt. I'm nervous trace amounts of toxin might remain in my clothing -- I may very well become that car as I try to load as much of it into my car as possible (I hate doing laundry and will avoid that one where possible :') ).

My dad is talking about getting a detector they apparently sell to detect this toxin before we bring the pets back into the house. I don't know how reliable it is, but it would be a relief to rule at certain objects as being contaminated.

I have Kermit booked and cleared to board at a local petshop I have a lot of trust in, so at least I know she'll be very safe for 4 days. But I'm going to miss her terribly anyways D': I hope she doesn't think her flock has abandoned her.
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:35 AM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

Your clothes and other fabrics, cushions and curtains could be put into large vac bags or even huge ones like these/ DIMPA Storage bag Transparent 65x22x65 cm - IKEA
Also plastic tubs that seal well will work. SAMLA Box with lid Transparent 39x28x28 cm/22 l - IKEA
If all well sealed they could go into the garage or outbuilding. Probably the less stuff in the house the better the gas will work? (unless in the fabrics also?).

This type of storage is always useful after as well. Keeps stuff clean and dry.

Go visit her, pick a quiet time, sure they will not mind?
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:46 AM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

Quote: Originally Posted by IndySE View Post
The guy from the extermination company came by to give us some literature. I peppered him with questions, in particular asking if this particular gas could stay in clothing/fabrics. He assured me this was not possible, as the melting/boiling point of the gas is very low.

I'm nervous trace amounts of toxin might remain in my clothing -- I may very well become that car as I try to load as much of it into my car as possible (I hate doing laundry and will avoid that one where possible :') ).
I have not heard of the chemical break-down of the active agent put that way: "melting/boiling point of the gas is very low." What I believe that he said, or meant to say is that active agent (toxin) is not stable when uses at normal temperature and therefore breaks down rapidly.

The needed cleaning references are based on eliminating what agent may still be active and to eliminate the 'tracking' of whatever drove the need for "Tenting" to begin with! So, even if you load all of your stuff in your car, it still needs to be cleaned to remove the 'bug' tracks, and that is about as gentle as I can but it.

NOTE: Do what you dislike first and it will have a profound effect on your life!
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Old 06-21-2017, 07:08 AM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

NOTE: Do what you dislike first and it will have a profound effect on your life!

Yes honestly it will, you will feel so accomplished when the dreaded task is completed you will sail through the others at speed.

https://www.termites.com/information/ = everything you didnt want to know about Termites!
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Old 06-25-2017, 03:36 AM
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Re: Termite Tenting...

Well to anyone that's interested, I did a lot of research on Vikane gas (the gas used for fumigation). I both did a lot of googling and then followed up my specific concerns with the company representative. I thought I might share what I learned and reply to the other messages in case in comes in handy to anyone in the future. I warn you all know that I'm an engineering student and was very thorough in how I researched, haha.



@ Sailboat ;; I mentioned the melting/boiling point as very low because that directly correlates with the volatility of a compound. Vikane gas is considered a "true gas" in that it's pretty much impossible to find it in liquid form at normal pressure and temperature. This means you probably don't have to worry about residues on a surface. It's always good to clean after, but I think that would just take care of the dirt the workers tract into your house... I think vikane has limited solubility into liquid water anyways.

As for if Vikane gas breaks down into sub-components, it is not my understand that it easily decomposes. It only decomposes into other compounds if it's absorbed into a living animal and metabolized, where it forms toxic byproducts that can kill if they build up. The tenting company merely airs out the structure for a certain amount of time until all detectable traces of the gas are gone -- and it does tend to leave quickly. It also tends to be very non-reactive with most non-living things, especially compared to other chemicals used before. Fun fact is it's also a greenhouse gas and might be contributing to global warming, but no one knows how much.

As for whether or not I leave my clothes inside or not... I don't think it matters much one way or another. Termites don't live in my clothes (though if it was bedbugs we had, I'd leave everything behind for sure!), and I'm not sure they necessarily leave pheromones or something (I assume that's what you meant?) in my clothing that would attract more. Not that it matters x__x This is southern California and every house is in some way infested with them. They know where to find us.


@plumsmum2005 ;;

Thank you for the info ! I admit I'm squeamish and did not research too heavily into termites... the pictures gave me the shudders D: !

Someday I'm sure I'll embrace your advice. That someday just might not be today. I have enough clothing to procrastinate laundry for a good month, and I've done it before.



Other info I did not include in the replies are the following.

-- The biggest danger of the gas I was worried about was how porous objects (like clothes, wood, etc.) would "trap" the toxic gas molecules inside. And since it's difficult for the gas to escape, it might diffuse slowly outward after the structure was cleared and safe and rise to a level toxic to a parrot. I looked into this issue mores specifically, and my research DID indicate that natural fibers like feathers, wool, beef, and cheese (? not sure why those 2 specifically, but anyways) tended to absorb vikane gas easily and diffuse it slowly (which mind you is still very small amounts, but I wanted to err on the side of caution here). This data was taken with a 6 hour ventilation. When I talked to the company representative about this issue, I was told that they actually changed their practice to vent over 24 hours, and since then have had no detectable levels of vikane after the structure was cleared. I also asked if the company has had any customers note pet-related deaths, to which they've had none.

Conclusion: Vikane gas is safe, when used within guidelines and a 24 hour ventilation. To be extra-cautious, all bird-related items will be removed from the house but especially food the bird eats. The company provided bags for me to bag food so I could leave it in the house, but it's really no effort and much safer just to remove everything.
Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, so I encourage anyone with this issue to do their own research. However, I hope this is a useful starting point and can point someone in the right direction.

I hope that was helpful !

Last edited by IndySE; 06-25-2017 at 03:45 AM.
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