Hawaii Leads The Nation In Developing Methods To Prevent Homes And Buildings From Being Attacked By Termites

Of the nearly 3,000 termite species that have been documented so far, it is believed that only around 1 percent of termite species are invasive. A large amount of these invasive termite pest species find their way onto the Hawaiian islands, despite Hawaii being the most isolated land mass in the world. Non-native termite pests find their way onto the Hawaiian islands by means of trading vessels, high tourism rates and military traffic, as Hawaii contains a significant amount of US troops that travel to exotic locations before returning to military bases in Hawaii. Of course, this also explains why termite infestation rates are particularly high within military bases in Hawaii. Eighty five percent of all food and 98 percent of all goods in Hawaii are imported, but only a very small amount of these goods are inspected upon arriving in Hawaii. Due to the high amount of insects that have been transported to Hawaii by means of the above mentioned factors, the state has been called the invasive insect capital of the world. This is a fitting nickname, as seven of the eight termite species that are known to dwell in Hawaii are invasive. Due to the high invasive termite population within Hawaii’s small area of land, protecting homes from termite attacks is of the utmost importance on the islands. This is why Hawaii has been leading the nation in the development of methods to prevent termites from attacking timber-framed structures.

Hawaii has long played a primary role in the development of wood preservatives that are designed to repel termites. Hawaii has long been used to test the efficacy of anti-termite wood preservatives due to the state’s uniquely dense population of termite pests. Hawaii is the only US state that requires lumber to be pressure-treated as a preventative measure against termite attacks. In other US regions, only counties have passed similar forms of legislation, as no statewide laws concerning termite-resistant wood treatments have been passed. Several attempts to implement statewide laws concerning anti-termite treatments to structural wood were undertaken in Louisiana during an outbreak of Formosan subterranean termites during 1999 and 2000. Unfortunately, no bills of this sort passed in the state, as lumber distributors were resistant to such legislation. Today, Hawaii remains the only US state with strict termite control laws concerning home and building construction. However, the state of Florida is beginning to follow Hawaii’s example, as invasive termites are even more abundant in southern Florida than anywhere else in the world. Experts believe that the annual five billion dollars spent on termite control and termite damage repairs in the US would decrease dramatically if all US states enacted the same anti-termite laws that have proven successful in Hawaii.

Do you believe that more anti-termite regulations in the construction industry are needed to control invasive termite damage within the US?

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