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Eradicating Formosan Termites From Historical Structures In New Orleans

A sizable amount of historically significant structures are densely located within the city of New Orleans, but unfortunately, invasive termite pests are inflicting damage to these structures constantly. Native termites have been a problem in the “Big Easy” since the first colonial structures were erected in the French Quarter centuries ago. However, termite pest activity in the city became unmanageable once the invasive Formosan subterranean termite established a foothold in southern Louisiana two decades ago.

During the early 2000s, the historically notable building where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803, the Cabildo, became infested with Formosan subterranean termites. Luckily, a government-run termite control effort saved the building from ruin, but the destructive insects continue to damage notable structures in the city to this day. For example, the African American Museum in New Orleans finally reopened last month after a termite infestation nearly brought the structure down several years ago, and residents are seeing termite swarms throughout the city earlier than usual this year.

It is not uncommon for Formosan subterranean termites to swarm during late April and early May, but this year’s swarms have been occurring more frequently than many residents expected. This is not shocking to pest control professionals who claim that Formosan subterranean termite colonies cannot be fully eradicated once they have become established within a particular area. Instead, Formosan colonies will only continue to spread to new regions of the state, which may explain why Baton Rouge was cited as one of the 50 most termite-infested cities for the first time in history this year.

Formosan subterranean termites started to become a problem for Baton Rouge residents during 2009, but since then, the rate of termite destruction in the city has been minimal when compared to the termite destruction that has been occurring in New Orleans. During 2016, pest control experts predicted that Baton Rouge would soon see Formosan subterranean termite “plagues” that would inflict a heavy economic burden upon residents. That same year, Formosan subterranean termites were discovered infesting a home in northwest Louisiana for the first time in history. This infestation was found by pest controllers within a Houghton home, and Formosan termites have been found numerous times well into the state of Arkansas as well. In fact, entomologist Gregg Henderson of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge believes that Formosan subterranean termite colonies could become established as far north as Tacoma and Boston. In other words, termite pest issues in Louisiana will get worse before they get better.

Do you believe that Formosan termites could become established all over the United States?

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