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Another alternative treatment for termites is the use of heat. The lethal heat dose for drywood termites is surprisingly low; 120ºF maintained for ½ hour. Although, professional opinions differ a common dosage of heat is 130ºF maintained for one hour.

To achieve this, room temperatures are typically elevated to the 150º or higher range.

During heat treatments, nylon tarps are used to tent the infested wood and their pests. Propane heat is then connected to the tent and blown into the structure, heating the exterior and interior walls to 120-degrees F for up to one hour.

To maintain a constant temperatures sensors are used in different locations within the structure, monitoring any fluctuations.

Whole-Structure vs. Spot Treatment

Although you can treat an entire structure with heat, treatments are generally limited to specific areas. This is because most household furnishing can not withstand such high temperatures and it would not be practical to remove them during the treatment. Thermal blankets, cooling fans and cool rooms (areas in the house not being treated) are sometimes used to protect such items.

Advantages of Heat Treatment

 

Disadvantages of Heat Treatment
 

100% eradication where heat is confined
No pesticides are used during the treatment

Takes less time than fumigation (usually less than 8 hours

Home can be re-entered immediately after treatment

 

All heat sensitive materials must be removed from area

Lethal temperatures may be difficult to maintain during treatment

Termites may flee to avoid heat if the treatment area is too small

Heat Treatment Research Results for Drywood Termites

 

Temp(ºF) 

Drywood Termite
Nymphs
(Minutes)

115

265

120

30

126

10

130

6

*Time required for 100% mortality of four species of insects at four temperatures (Forbes, C. A., and W. Ebeling. Update: use of heat for elimination of structural pests. The IPM Practitioner 9(8): 1-5 1987)

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