A New Method Of Termite Control May End In Disaster

Termites cause a great deal of destruction within the state of Louisiana. Not only does this state count the destructive eastern subterranean termite species as one of its natural inhabitants, but the invasive Formosan subterranean termite species also wreaks havoc within the state. The Formosan termite species was discovered in neighboring Texas during the 1960s, and within a very short time, the invasive insect arrived in Louisiana. Since then, this termite species has been causing a progressively greater amount of structural damage in the state with each passing year. Once the 1990s rolled around, Louisiana’s government enacted a statewide termite control program named Operation Full Stop that would end up lasting for nearly fifteen years. Despite the fact that Formosan termites still inhabit the state, the program was largely considered to be a success. However, the program may have been a much greater success had a prominent scientist been granted an opportunity to test out a promising new form of termite control.Termite Experts

Back in 2007, four years before Operation Full Stop officially came to an end, a Louisiana State University professor, Gregg Henderson, approached state officials with a type of grass that he claimed could effectively repel termites. However, the Army Corps of Engineers had some understandable concerns about the Professor’s new revolutionary termite control method.

The professor had been experimenting with a type of long-bladed grass species known as vetiver. The Army’s problem concerned the grass’s native origin, as the grass does not grow naturally within North America. Although planting vetiver seeds in termite hotspots seems like a smart way to control termite populations, the Army did not want to risk an environmentally damaging outbreak of invasive vegetation. Since vetiver grass is not native to America, there was no way to tell if the grass would become invasive.

Dr. Henderson was not the only person who had been touting the pest control benefits of vetiver grass, as the global organization known as the Vetiver Network lobbied hard to get the American government to adopt vetiver as a method of termite population control. The organization has succeeded in making vetiver grass a go-to termite control agent in countries all over the world, but the American government has remained determined to avoid the grass for environmental safety reasons.

Do you believe that the American government should conduct more research on the pest control potential of vetiver grass?

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