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Fumigation Helps Preserve Nixon Birthplace Home
By Brad Harbison

5/8/2009

YORBA LINDA, CALIF. — It’s well-documented that our nation’s 37th President, Richard Nixon, was a fastidious record-keeper. In fact, it can be argued that Nixon’s propensity to record conversations was instrumental in his demise (think Watergate). If Nixon were alive today he probably would enjoy the collection of documents and memorabilia on display at both his birthplace home in Yorba Linda, Calif., and the adjacent Presidential Library on the same site. While the Library is a relatively new building and thus well preserved, the same can not be said for the home, which was built by Nixon’s father, Frank Nixon, in 1912. It was facing a serious threat: termites.

After Mike Marquez, president of Pest Solutions, South Gate, Calif., discovered drywood termite fecal pellets in the attic, subcontractor Mega Fume, Orange, Calif., was brought in to fumigate the historic site using Vikane gas fumigant. A team of four licensed professionals from Mega Fume, led by president Dave Wadleigh, performed the work March 30-31.

Wadleigh said that the home sits on the original site because Nixon did not want to have it turned since it was built by his father, so it actually faces away from the library. Also, the Mega Fume team had to park about 200 feet away, so getting equipment there was a challenge. The Mega Fume team had to shoot (the fumigant) from about 150 feet away. “Since everything is so old, we did not want to have a fog out, and being so far away it eliminated that concern. The extra long lines were used to slow down the gases that shoot in. That minimized any chance out of a fog out. It’s always a little tense working in a structure with items that can’t be replaced.”

Additionally, Wadleigh said security was tight and that Secret Service agents observed them during the entire fumigation.

Wadleigh said the structure was about 16,000 cubic feet (with the home being about 1,200 square feet) and the Mega Fume team shot 10 pounds of gas. He was impressed by the overall structure, which has been renovated throughout the years. “The main timbers are made from Redwood trees and that is something you will see with older homes in this area. Probably one of the reasons why the damage was minimal was because the Redwoods do sort of resist termites, but eventually the enzymes in the Redwoods will break down and the termites will infest it.”

Mike Marquez (left), president of Pest Solutions, South Gate, Calif., and Dave Wadleigh (right) in front of the historic Nixon birthplace home, which Mega Fume fumigated in late March.

Reprinted with permission pf PCT Magazine, September 2009.