Does Termite Fumigation Leave Residue?


Thrasher Termite & Pest Control answers commonly asked questions about termite fumigation.

Is residue left on surfaces after termite fumigation?

Read on for a full explanation of this commonly asked drywood termite fumigation question.

Sulfuryl fluoride is the gas used to fumigate for drywood termites, wood infesting beetles, and bed bugs. It is a gas, not a spray. As a gas, it does not leave behind surface pesticidal residue¹. Think of helium. After you pop a helium filled balloon, the gas dissipates and surfaces are unaffected. Rub the inside of the balloon and you’ll find it dry. Or, have you ever experienced a natural gas leak from an unlit kitchen burner? Once you turn off the gas and air out the fumes, it is safe to continue cooking without washing down the counters or dishware.

The reason that you do not have to wash surfaces or cookware after termite fumigation is because the only thing that sulfuryl fluoride leaves behind is dead insects.

Q: Is residue left on surfaces after termite fumigation?

A: NO!

Q: How fast does the termite fumigant (sulfuryl fluoride) leave the house? What about boxes and cupboards?

A: The state of California has very strict regulations (the California Aeration Plan) about venting a structure after termite fumigation. (Yea!) In fact, these regulations supersede the aeration procedure labeling on the products used. These regulations protect workers and homeowners. When your home is declared safe for reentry, we mean it! Regarding boxes and cupboards, just as the fumigant quickly enters voids in walls, infiltrates boxes and cupboards, it exits all of these locations just as quickly once aeration begins.


About the Author:

Garrett Thrasher is Vice President and General Manager of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal, Inc., Chairperson of the San Diego District of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), a member of the bedbugFREE network, and a member of the National Pest Management Association. Author of The Bed Bug Battle Plan: Field Tested Solutions for Bed Bug Extermination and Prevention (ISBN: 1500838209), Garrett’s solid understanding of bed bugs, their behavior, current outbreaks, and experience on camera has made him a leading contact for news and media outlets. He is also a sought after speaker on the topic of managing online reviews for positive impact. He has spoken at PestWorld and PestTech, and was featured in PCT Magazine and the PCT Podcast. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal is accredited by QualityPro–the mark of excellence in pest management.


  1. Olivia Gilman August 4, 2015 at 6:32 am - Reply

    I think this is a really common worry for those who need to have their home fumigated. Thanks for answering it so simply. My friends, the Gilmores had to have their home tented for termites and were nervous about having anything left behind. And though it is gross that there are dead bugs left behind, they were relieved that they wouldn’t have to worry about chemical buildup or residue left on their floors or walls.

  2. […] Does Termite Fumigation Leave Residue? […]

  3. Deanna December 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks for addressing this issue. This was a big concern of mine considering we are having one done next week. I appreciate you candid answers.

  4. Dean December 17, 2015 at 10:37 am - Reply

    I’ve never seen any residue on any of our jobs.

  5. David Hawkins May 3, 2016 at 6:23 am - Reply

    I was always under the impression the fumigation left a residue, but I guess I was wrong. This was kind of a reason that I was hesitant to hire a pest control service before, but now I’ll have to seriously start looking. The bugs in my home have been getting a little out of control so this will help tremendously. Thanks for the clarification!

    • Buzz May 6, 2016 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Most people are confused by the residue issue. Glad to clarify that. Fumigation is really the only way to ensure that all colonies of drywood termites in a structure are eliminated. Fumigation for bed bugs is also becoming more prevalent.

  6. Carolyn E Pasquarella May 26, 2016 at 9:52 am - Reply

    If there is no residue then why do they tell us to double bag medicine and food? I forgot to double bag medicine and threw away about $300 worth of it which was not fun to do as the company we used told us we should. Was that not necessary? Pet food as well.

    • Buzz May 26, 2016 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      Short answer: the label is the law. The label on a pesticide (in this instance sulfuryl fluoride) must be approved by the EPA. Pest control operators must follow the directions for use on the product label AND we pass along pertinent directions (such as bagging food) to the client.

      For additional reading, you can check out the information on the National Pesticide Information Center website.

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