America’s Oldest Apartment Complex Was Nearly Lost To Extensive Termite Infestations

America’s Oldest Apartment Complex Was Nearly Lost To Extensive Termite Infestations

The city of New Orleans is well known for the many preserved buildings of historical significance that are still standing to this day. Many buildings located in New Orleans were built during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and their unique architectural designs easily express the city’s culture and history. Not surprisingly, city officials within New Orleans are determined to preserve the city’s many historical buildings. Sadly, the city of New Orleans is also known for its thick population of invasive termites. These invasive termites are known as Formosan subterranean termites, and they have nearly destroyed some of the city’s most treasured architectural feats. One of the most notable examples of Formosan termite damage in New Orleans involves the oldest apartment buildings in the United States. Around a decade ago, government-employed pest control professionals were tasked with saving the Upper and Lower Pontalba Apartment buildings from termite-induced ruin.

When considering the many picturesque structures that exist in New Orleans, the Pontalba Apartment buildings are arguably the most well known. For decades pest control experts managed to prevent large termite infestations from occuring within the apartments. However, in late 2007, a seemingly untreatable Formosan termite infestation began to take hold of the apartment buildings. The termites were found tunneling through floorboards, and they were even visible through the floor’s clear finish. After planting numerous bait traps, the Formosan termite infestation was finally declared eradicated. The amount of bait required was alarming, as it suggested that the infestation was uniquely large, which is characteristic of Formosan termite infestations. Not long afterwards, another termite infestation was found in the buildings, but this time drywood termites were to blame. The building then required extensive renovations, and replacement materials. The historic apartment buildings continue to be monitored closely for termites today, but infestations have proven hard to prevent in this one hundred and seventy year old structure.

Do you think that protecting old wood-constructed buildings from termite infestations is a waste of money that could be better spent on termite research?

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