RPV: Lomita firm covering the 100-unit condo complex is using 125 tarps for cover. By Megan Bagdonas STAFF WRITER No, the carnival hasn’t come to town – but the termite fumigators have. “The dirt, scuff and tar stains from roofs don’t stand out as much when you’ve got the stripes. A tarp goes on about 100 buildings before it needs to be replaced, so if there’s just one color, they look really dirty,” Santonello said. “It’s just become standard procedure.” Residents vacated their homes by 8a.m. Monday, taking with them any pets. “We put all our food in sealed, plastic bags, took out all the plants to the tennis courts and opened up all the drawers to make sure the gas can get in and out,” said Hagen, who is staying with his wife at a hotel in Long Beach. “It’s like a vacation, but we still have to go to work.” Concerned about thieves who might take advantage of the vacant residences, the condo’s homeowners association hired a private security firm to guard the premises until the work is finished Thursday. However, Santonello said he rarely hears of burglaries of tented homes. “Someone who doesn’t know anything about fumigating might think they can hold their breath and run in and grab a TV and get out, but sulfuryl fluoride can kill somebody in a couple of minutes if they breathe in enough of it,” Santonello said. Just in case someone is willing to take the deadly risk, fumigators routinely add tear gas as a warning agent, since the toxic sulfuryl fluoride is odorless and colorless. “The tear gas keeps anything from going inside the tarp – including animals,” Santonello said. And if the security guards and tear gas aren’t enough to dissuade determined thieves, deputies at the Lomita sheriff’s station have increased patrols to the La Rotonda area. “I’m not aware of any increase in crime in homes that are being fumigated for termites, but as with anything, we’re being proactive in crime prevention,” sheriff’s Lt. Michael Irving said. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A 100-unit condo complex in Rancho Palos Verdes has a new big-top look this week after wood-eating insects were found munching on the building. “Last year we had to replace the roof and that’s when we found the termites,” said Herman Hagen, a resident of Ocean Terrace. “You could actually see them when we took off the old roof.” The circus-sized project near Trump National Golf Club required 125 plastic-coated panels (an average home uses six) and 50,000 metal clips to make airtight the more than 3-million-cubic-foot building, said the owner of Andy’s Termite and Pest control in Lomita. “It’s the biggest project we’ve ever attacked on our own,” Andy Santonello said. “We’re pretty proud of it.” Fumigators use colorfully striped tarps because the special plastic-coated cloth only comes in 50-inch-wide swaths that need to be sewn together, and alternating colors allow inspectors to quickly assess the height and width of a building. It also just looks better.