Formosan termites cost New Orleans approximately $300 million in damages each year. Now, the pests are migrating and have been found in 11 states outside of Louisiana. The termites were first recorded in the United States after World War II, where they were brought over from East Asia. They have devastated historic structures in the French Quarter and ruined thousands of trees.
Ed Bordes, director of the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board, states that about 30% of the city’s cypress and live oak trees are currently infested. Scientists had thought that the infestations were quarantined to New Orleans because of the optimal, unique environment that the city provides. However, it is now estimated that invasions in other states are costing the nation between $1 billion and $2 billion annually, more than all domestic species combined.
The Agricultural Research Department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has started a New Orleans-based Formosan termite project called Operation Full Stop in an effort to track and exterminate this invasive species from U.S. soil. They have compiled a list of data that details exactly why this species is so harmful to our infrastructure and forests.
Domestic termite colonies usually form by the thousands. Formosan termite colonies number in the millions. Domestic colonies can usually eat about 7 pounds of wood a year. Formosan termite colonies eat about 1,000 pounds of wood a year. Unlike domestic termite, Formosan termites can burrow through cement, brick, and plastic to reach food and water sources.
Scientists have determined that eradication may be impossible, but there are measures that can be taken with this invasive species to prevent further damage. They are currently researching ways to prevent the species from procreating in an effort to halt the growth of colonies.
Blue Ridge Termite & Pest Management Group is keeping up with the research on this invasive species so as to keep our customers informed and best address their specific needs. Contact us today for an inspection or to identify and treat a specific pest issue.