Termite Tenting and Wine

living in S. California, termites are common. I’ve been lucky in my current house, though that may be changing. Virtually all the houses around us have been tented at various times in the past few years. Recently we noticed some termite droppings and it’s been confirmed. We’re waiting for a recommendation about tenting vs. local spot treatment.

The termite people–and the people who make the pesticide (Dow Agrosciences’ Vikane)–tell me: “Thank you for contacting Dow AgroSciences. Each bottle of wine or other packaged liquor must be visually inspected to determine the seal integrity. If the integrity of the seal cannot be determined visually, the wine bottle or other packaged liquor must be removed or double bagged in Nylofume bags. If the beverage original manufacturer’s air-tight seal is intact, those beverages can remain in a fumigated structure without double bagging with Nylofume bags. All corked wine bottles need to be stored horizontally. The adage of 'when in doubt, take it out” still applies.’"

My take on this is that I ought to be safe and remove the wine–that’s going to be a hassle. The easiest way I can conceive of doing this is to rent a refrigerated storage unit that can be placed outside my house, hire some guys from the wine store (who can bring boxes), and move the wine into refrigerated storage for the 3 days the house will be tented. While some people tent and fumigate with their wine still in the house, I’m not willing to risk it with my collection.

What a hassle! Any thoughts?


Don’t risk it. At all.

+1. “Vikane” is claimed to be able to penetrate wood, which is similar in composition to, but denser than bark…

Would it be easier to double bag the wine?

thousands of bottles, lots of it racked in double deep and single deep racking–that would be brutal.

Your collection? I would move it as you planned without a moment’s hesitation or remorse about the hassle. Just something that has to be done.

David Shaw, late food/wine writer for the LA times, wrote a funny/informative article on this topic some years ago.
We had lunch with him at Lucques a few months before he passed away and spoke of his experiment/experience.
May be able to find it on line, but his bottom line was that there was no effect!
Good luck.

By the way, we took his word for it 3 months ago.
2000 bottles in our cellar, kept door to cellar closed, no effect as of yet (on us or the wine [pwn.gif] !

We had our house tented several years ago. We left some food double bagged in the fridge. After we came back, we ended up throwing away the food anyway since we cannot overcome our doubt.

Is this your “before” or “after” picture?


This doesn’t sound pretty. I remember what a hassle you went through with the inventory and reorganization six months ago.

This is the rub.
Maybe you could get away with it but could you take the chance?
Best, Jim

Just curious, for how long is tenting treatment effective?

I’m with the conservative faction and I’d move the wine or find some way to hermetically seal the cellar; it’s the nagging doubt that would get to me.

they warranty it for about 5 years; you can buy an extended warranty. I don’t know, though, how long it’s effective. What worries me about sealing out the cellar is that I have to turn off the refrigeration/electricity and it’s hot here in S. California.

I think that, if I tent, I will remove the wine to a refrigerated storage unit that I will rent.


Why don’t you throw a big party and invite everybody on this board and drink up? We can call it “raid the cellar” at Alan’s.
On a serious note, I also live in SoCal and the thing with the termites is if the tent truck pulls up the street, the termites jump to the neighbors house for a few days, then come “home” after the tent is removed.
I would opt for spot treating, as that is all I have ever done with my homes. A good friend of ours owns a large termite company and his advice to us is the same unless transferring title on home (selling) and then there are legal ramifications involved, so most people tent to cover their arses.
I am not a professional termite guy, but that is my 2 cents worth.

We tented for termites a couple years ago and I moved the wine from the house to a friend’s cellar. But I only have about 350 bottles at home so it wasn’t too bad. Also a friend double bagged his 2,000 bottle collection but he doesn’t have nearly the great wines that you have. I’d say rent a refrigeration unit and hire some guys to move your wine before and after the tenting. Don’t chance it.

interesting–I might need his name; thanks, Tom.