The Red Monastery was built in northwest Egypt during the fourth century AD when the region was under the control of the Byzantine Empire. Not only does this make the Red Monastery one of the oldest structures of its kind, but the Red Monastery is actually the last standing Byzantine structure that exists in Egypt. The monastery is extremely large in size, as it contains several churches and numerous rooms were ancient Roman and Egyptian works of art are displayed. As you can imagine, the monastery and all of its internal features are immensely valuable, which is why the long-running termite infestation within the monastery is a matter of serious concern to people all over the world. The United States is currently funding renovation efforts and termite control programs in order to preserve the structure.
Starting in 2003, the American Research Center in Egypt has been working to eradicate the termites from the Red Monastery while also renovating the most damaged areas.
Due to the enormity of the termite infestation within the monastery, American researchers are developing unique termite control programs that are specifically designed to treat the infestation. Back in 2016, officials discovered that the Red Monastery was infested with a subterranean termite species known as F. Rhinotennitidae. Due to the high levels of humidity within the soil, experts believe that numerous termite nests have been established beneath the monastery, and each of these nests likely contains at least 2 million individual termites. Numerous bait-traps were set in an effort to eradicate many of the termite inhabitants, but this strategy failed to make a difference. The monastery’s walls and roof were partially constructed with wooden materials, and the damage recently found on these wooden materials suggests that termites have been long established in the structure.
After initial termite control strategies failed, American pest control professionals visited the site in order to dig a trench around the monastery’s borders. This trench was then filled with insecticide in order to form a barrier around the structure, thus preventing termites from accessing the structure. This termite control method has been applied around the borders of other large structures, such as the Egyptian President’s Palace. Massive numbers of termites were found in wood samples taken from the monastery’s walls and roof, and numerous termites were found below sections of carpeting as well. While the termite control efforts carried out within the monastery have proven fruitful, increased urbanization is causing groundwater levels in the region to rise, which will increase humidity levels within the monastery and in the soil below. The rising groundwater will certainly create conditions that invading termites will find particularly appealing and hospitable. If the groundwater problem is not solved soon, the termite presence within the monastery could become too great to be eradicated.
Do you believe that saving historical structures from damages inflicted by termites is worth taxpayer dollars?Tags: Termite Control, Termite Inspection