Should I tent & fumigate before moving in (peninsula)?

Hi folks, I’m hoping for some of your advice/wisdom.

I’m in contract on a new home on the peninsula. The termite report includes a section 1 item that recommends tenting and fumigation.

“Evidence of drywood termite activity was found beneath the structure. This evidence was found immediately adjacent to and/or appears to extend into an inaccessible area.”

Should I just go ahead and do it?

This is very common statement from termite inspection.

Do you see widespread issue with termite? Do you see the termite fix costs more than $5000 overall in your report?

If not, I would ignore those. But it depends on entire termite report, good, bad or ugly.

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When people moving into a neighborhood, it attracts lots of eyes, some of them not there to offer you help, to congratulate you becoming the new guy in the block but to rob you during the night you tent your home.

A year ago or so I told the story of my dog waking me up at 2 in the morning. I could see, but not video what was going on because I didn’t want to risk my life. The thieves, were getting in and out of my neighbor’s home being tented. They couldn’t get in because of the famous and disgusting bar metals on windows and doors. Even though I had called the police, they showed up 20 minutes too late, but stopped the individuals, interrogated them and because they responded they were looking out for somebody they saw getting into that house (he could die they said, LOL) they were let go.:triumph:

It also brings the activity of covering food, cutlery, plates, etc.
So, if you are going to do it, and because you really need it, do it before moving in. That way you have time to air the entire house if you feel paranoid about breathing something that may kill you :scream:

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Agreed. If you’re going to live there for a while, just do it before you move in. If you rent it out though, there might be occupancy gaps during which you can do that.

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Agree with the suggestions here. Stories of robberies with people going in with gas masks seem to be common. :frowning:

I’d really want to know what part of the structure it is as well. If it’s a deck/porch, then no. If it’s any other part of the structure, maybe. But if you’re talking a small infestation under the house, there’s no reason to believe you won’t have another infestation again next year since they come in through the ventilation gratings. How long do people think the infestation has been there? How far into the inaccessible area, do people think they are? How big is the inaccessible area? Can you send a small camera in somehow to see if there are droppings?

Also, tenting should cost $2-3K on a single story structure. The quotes in these inspections tend to be pretty high. You should consider getting a second opinion.

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It is standard marketing practice to suggest Tenting. So far, I have tented my first primary home in 2004, lived there almost 7 years, watched many near by homes were selling but no one tented in that street (even until today). Since it was my first purchase, being inexperienced, tented and spent $3000 ! That was the first and final so far.

Later every purchases, Termite inspectors suggest Tenting, but never really spent any money so far.

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Most likely the termite is not active, but there is a still possibility that it is. Doing tenting and treatment prior to moving in is a lot easier than doing after moving in. So I would do the treatment. And we did when we bought our primary residence.

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For townhouses and condos, it’s impossible to do this.

I suspect that most of the recommended fumigation is not really needed. And it may not help much at all. But if you value the peace of mind and the cost is bearable when comparing with a spiritual stress, go for it.

Many 100 year houses in SF was never done fumigation, and most of those houses are selling like hot cakes. Termite treatment is a hoast, or a real science?

Is termite treatment environment friendly? Let’s ask EPA take a look at the termite industry. I prefer no chemicals, who knows whether EPA will ban some termite treatment chemicals later and the homeowner would be disturbed by the hazardous termite chemicals in their home

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Termite treatment certainly isn’t environmentally friendly, but I think there are times it’s necessary.

We had drywood termites pooping pellets out through multiple places and swarming. I had no idea what the colorful “sand” and flying “ants” were until the ground termites started building a mudtube up a bedroom wall and I consulted google.

Apparently the ground termites ate up the floor and through our front neighbor’s kitchen cabinet causing a door to fall off a couple of years earlier and the landlords did nothing other than replace the cabinet face.

I think tenting/treating should definitely happen somewhere between “we found a single instance of fresh drywood termite poops” and “termites have eaten up and through a cabinet such that a door fell off its hinges.”

Incidentally, there is a horizontal crack in the foundation stucco that coincides with the areas the ground termites were eating away at. Coincidence? I suspect not.

I guess most houses do not need environmentally harmful termite treatment. Maybe termite was over treated by home buyers. If the seller continues to live in that same house, I doubt most houses will never be treated by termite professionals.

It might be worth a second opinion from an honest and experienced termite inspector who has no business of treatment

Something to consider is that with all of the different climates in the BA, it’s possible that my neighborhood has a larger, more aggressive termite population than some of the rest of you. I do see a couple (1-3) homes tented each year here.

Pactown, you said “on a new home” Do you mean literally a brand new home?

No sorry it’s a SFH originally built in 1953.

Estimate is $3400 to tent from the inspection report. Termite activity refers to the substructur near/under the master bathroom. Coincidentally (?) there was a leak from the exterior in this area previously that was fixed. Unsure if this points towards potential termites in this area.

There’s also evidence of termite activity “tubing out of soil” in the substructure.

Subterranean termites have a different treatment from the drywood ones. Tenting only kills the ones in the structure, but the colonies live in the soil–often multiple feet away in your garden where they won’t be tented.

I’m not an expert, but I’m guessing that you can put treating the subterranean ones off until they reach the wood. But you’d have to monitor the situation.

BTW: Apparently treating the sub-termites will get rid of ant infestations as well, though. The ants go after the sub-termites eggs, which is how/why they end up in the structure. Certainly did work for us–we had a good 2-3 years of no ants after the sub-termites were treated.

I don’t know what to tell you. It’s easier to know what the situation is when you live in the house–do you see swarms, do you see dry-wood termite pellets, do you see lots of ants? But it’s also easier and safer to tent when you’re not in the house.

My only other thought is to ask if they recently had a treatment because there are 2-3 year guarantees and maybe you could get retreated for free. That might be in the seller’s disclosures though, but can’t hurt to ask. Or even knowing the last time it was tented/treated might be helpful. Your decision might change based on it being 5 years ago vs. never.

One other thing to ask was whether they went into the attic to look for dry wood termites. I’ve heard that sometimes inspectors “Don’t climb ladders.”

terri is right in something. We were a few days into our home when on a corner of our living room we saw the infestation of what I thought were flies. Upon a close inspection and Google it, I found out they were subterranean. I called the company that did the termite a year past and they honored their commitment to deliver a good service. They drilled holes around that area and injected some liquid.

Also, these termites as their names says it all, live underground and if your home is surrounded by vegetation or trees, chances are you need to treat around the entire house, not only close to the infestation so you can have what you call peace of mind.

Good luck!

If they drilled holes in the walls, they were drywood termites (which do indeed swarm in the house).

On the ground. I checked in Google for the type of termite, it was a sub. What happens is that there’s a space between the cement ground and the stucco and they were getting in there.
Anything the city did in that house was horrible, you couldn’t see it by just coming to see the inside during an open house. Like they say, you have to live with him/her to get to know them.

Ahh got it. Our guy just sprayed all over. No holes I think.

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