We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926
We Have Beds Available! Call For Same Day Admission. 855-722-6926

Breaking Bad Termite Tenting Drug Operation: Real or Fake?

Breaking Bad Termite Tenting Drug Operation

Breaking Bad is a hit tv show known for its intelligent and cunning lead characters, Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. The show is based on a high school teacher’s attempt at improving his finances by running a drug operation.

Chemistry teacher Walt becomes desperate once he learns he has cancer and decides to take a risk and turn an old RV into a portable meth lab. Walt eventually recruits a past student, Jesse, to help cook and deal meth.

As a drug and alcohol rehab center in Philadelphia, we know that certain elements involving drug trafficking and operations are often exaggerated or falsified in TV shows like Breaking Bad. However, one thing that remains true is the damage drug abuse can have on a person’s body.

What is the Breaking Bad Termite Tenting Drug Operation?

In season five, episode three of Breaking Bad titled “Hazard Pay”, Walt decides that he will make his operation mobile by working in portable meth labs. He comes up with this idea after seeing a folded fumigation tent. Walt argued that no one would be suspicious about a fumigation tent nor the odor that emits from when the meth is being cooked. He and Jesse then make plans with a pest control business and eventually set up their meth lab.

Methamphetamine is one of the most commonly trafficked drugs, alongside cocaine and opioids. Because the show is centered on Walt’s and Jesse’s meth operation, it often depicts addicts who are struggling with addiction to their supplies. While it’s easy to dismiss the severity of this disease while watching a show, there are many people throughout the nation struggling with drug abuse. People who are dependent on meth usually require meth addiction treatment to achieve sobriety. 

Is the Breaking Bad Tent House Realistic?

While the show is entertaining for many, viewers couldn’t help but wonder if the Breaking Bad termite tenting drug operation was feasible. Upon further inspection, there are certain factors that may pop the viewers’ bubbles.

Setting Up the Lab

While one could argue that Jesse and Walt would become used to assembling and disassembling their machines and other supplies, doing it in a short amount of time can be difficult. Depending on the company and state, fumigation may take three to seven days. It’s hard to believe that two people could pull off getting all of their supplies into the home, assembling it, and then disassembling it without any neighbors noticing. Unless they’re in a rural area, this seems like a challenge. 


In the episode, Walt argued that a fumigation tent would be a perfect temporary meth lab because no one would think twice about the odors of cooking meth. However, meth is made with specific substances that could be recognizable to neighbors. Some of these ingredients include battery acid, drain cleaner, gasoline, and antifreeze. Although fumigation probably emits a particular odor, any intense smells that result from cooking meth might attract some unwanted attention.

Electric Bill

In the show, Walt and Jesse produce an estimated 200 pounds of methamphetamine per week. That’s a lot of cooking time. Their drug operation requires a whole lot of electricity. Wouldn’t homeowners be quick to notice an increase in their electric bill? That could definitely raise some questions. On the other hand, this could be avoided if they used some sort of generator or another source of power. But that ties back into getting their supplies to and from the operation site without notice.


The amount of meth Walt and Jesse can produce in a week also makes you wonder how they’re able to obtain chemicals so quickly, consistently, and abundantly without notice. Chemicals like pseudoephedrine are logged by pharmacies and are limited per customer. Other countries can obtain similar chemicals more efficiently. In fact, in 2005 Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which requires pharmacies and other retail stores to log purchases of products that contain pseudoephedrine. These places must also restrict the amount of the product that customers can purchase.1 That’s why drug trafficking often operates in countries like Mexico or Guatemala, where it’s easier to shift production and buy supplies.

At Banyan Philadelphia, we know that shows like Breaking Bad want viewers to become engrossed enough in the characters’ lives to the point where they’ll dismiss, and even support, their decisions. Breaking Bad fumigation tent may just be an elaborate idea for a show, but there are plenty of drug operations that are producing and trafficking harmful drugs like meth and cocaine throughout the world. Many people often become victims of these operations, and many of them eventually undergo addiction treatment to take back control of their lives.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, call Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our rehab facility. 

  1. NIH- How is methamphetamine manufactured?
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.