When Karen and I first relocated to Ft. Lauderdale I used to quip, “If you move here they will come.” I was referring to friends and family that beat a steady path to our door to enjoy south Florida’s amenities with us. We did not know it at the time, but south Florida is also a haven for termites.
We returned from our recent book selling venture in the Rocky Mountains (8-11-15) to find our three-story, fifty-unit condominium building completely encased in termite tenting. We knew this process was taking place, but it was still an eerie experience to case the place while it was abandoned by all occupants, excluding the newly departed insect residents.
This was my first up-close and personal encounter with the termite tenting process, which is a common sight in these climes. Our company used a satellite photo to size the heavy-duty plastic tarps used to wrap the building. I was surprised to find that the seams were just rolled together and held tight by thousands of metal clips. The seal along the ground is held firmly in place by laying water-filled rubber tubes around the entire perimeter. Termite tenting is a high-tech solution that uses low-tech methods.
Crews, cranes and supplies began arriving on property Saturday (8-8-15). The building was sealed by Monday afternoon, when a final check for all residents, pets and house plants confirmed the building was vacant of wanted life forms. Food was left in refrigerators and freezers sealed in double fumigation bags. Unopened cans and bottles remained on shelves, but not corked wine. Furniture, clothing, electronics, and all other belongings were abandoned in place.
Vikane gas was pumped into the building and held at a lethal concentration for 24-hours. Vikane completely dissipates after fumigation and leaves no residue. You can eat off your plates, wear your clothes and sleep in your bed without washing a thing! That sounds freaky, but it’s true. The tent was stripped and everyone welcomed back home by late Wednesday morning.
The dread of termite tenting all the residents of our building experienced has been replaced by the comforting feeling that the little buggers are no longer steadily eating our home. Much like uninvited house guests, they will eventually find their way back. We’ll be ready for them.