Formosan Subterranean Termites Can Benefit From Termite Eradication Efforts

Formosan Subterranean Termites Can Benefit From Termite Eradication Effortsunnamed (7)

Formosan subterranean termites have been a major problem in all of the southeastern Gulf Coast states since the mid to late 1960s. Since then these uniquely destructive termites have become progressively more problematic in these regions. However, no Gulf Coast region has more Formosan subterranean termite damage than the city of New Orleans. The high populations of Formosan subterranean termites in New Orleans can be considered tragic given the vast amount of historically notable buildings located in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The French Quarter contains homes and buildings that date back to the 1700s. The entirety of the French Quarter can be considered a historical site worth preserving. Due to the historical significance of the French Quarter, several state and federal programs have been enacted with the aim of eradicating termites from the French Quarter and other areas of New Orleans. Some of these programs proved to be a success, but one group of researchers learned that these clever termites sometimes benefitted from certain termite control measures.

Back in the late 1990s a federal program named Operation Full Stop was formed in order to combat the widespread termite damage that had been occuring in New Orleans. This blog has mentioned Operation Full Stop in the past, but very little information exists about termite activity post-Operation Full Stop. According to a University of Florida entomology professor Nan-Yao Su, Formosan subterranean termites are experts at taking advantage of termite control measures. Su was a part of the Operation Full Stop team that attempted to eradicate termites from Armstrong Park. Su continues to conduct termite research in the park despite the government termite control program ending in 2011. At one time it seemed as though Formosan subterranean termites had been eradicated from Armstrong Park. Unfortunately, Su has learned that the soil within the park quickly became recolonized by the termites. Apparently, small colonies of Formosan termites wait on the borders of termite treated soil until the soil is ready to be reinhabited. In other words, the soil treatments only freed-up more space for future Formosan subterranean termite colonies. Luckily, this finding is leading researchers to develop more sophisticated termite control methods.

Do you think that invasive termites can ever be fully eradicated or even successfully controlled in regions where they are active?


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