Connected Buildings With Shared Walls Vulnerable To Formosan Subterranean Termite Attack

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year to repair property damage inflicted by termite pests in New Orleans alone. The relatively high rate at which termite pests inflict property damage in New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana is due to the large number of termite pest species in the state, including the uniquely destructive and invasive Formosan subterranean termite. The Formosan subterranean termite is particularly devastating in New Orleans due the prevalence of oak trees that the pests prefer to consume in the city, and the abundance of old structures that are not only inadequate for resisting termite attack, but are also connected by shared walls. Buildings that are connected by shared walls in the French Quarter are vulnerable to extensive and long lasting termite infestations because they allow termite pests to travel from building to building through connected lumber components.

A mature Formosan subterranean termite colony consisting of several million individual wood-eating workers has been found spanning several connected buildings in the French Quarter over the years. These massive aerial infestations are an issue only when it comes to the Formosan subterranean termite, as this invasive pest is the only subterranean termite species that is capable of establishing large aerial nests that contain the entire colony. Native subterranean termites, on the other hand, do not construct aerial nests; instead, native subterranean termite colonies remain within moist ground soil at all times, and only workers leave the nest to infest substructural wood components from the ground up in homes and buildings. Native subterranean termite workers that infest substructural wood cannot travel far from their home colony because they require repeated contact with moist soil in order to periodically rehydrate themselves. Unless every lumber component in a structure’s timber frame is moist enough to meet the hydration needs of workers, subterranean termite infestations cannot advance far beyond substructural wood components around the foundation. This is why native subterranean termite infestations almost never progress to the second floor of structures.

Have you ever encountered a Formosan subterranean termite aerial nest?

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