Printer Friendly

Tree-Eating Termites Hit South.

Homeowners have long feared the native subterranean termite. Now its hungrier cousins are eating their way through thousands of southern trees.

The Formosan termite (Coptotermes formosanus) has attacked trees in 11 coastal states, including North Carolina, California, and Texas, as well as Hawaii. But the worst case may be Louisiana, where termites have infested an estimated 20 to 25 percent of the city's trees, according to the USDA Agricultural Research Service and local officials.

"During the last hurricane, a group estimated our trees are worth around $700 million," said Ed Bordes, director of the city-funded New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board. "Not only are [the termites] eating the more susceptible trees, but they're eating our historic trees as well."

So far no tree has proved itself immune to the pest, said Alan R. Lax, research leader and microbiologist for ARS' Formosan Subterranean Termite Research Unit. "It's a very serious problem. It strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners in areas with a termite infestation."

The termite can chew through trees, plywood, and beams. Its most dangerous trait may be its large nests, which can grow up to 10 times larger than native subterranean termite colonies.

Formosan termites cost the southern states and Hawaii an estimated $1 billion each year in property damage, control measures, and repairs, ARS said. And with their numbers growing, they could spread further north, Lax warned.

City, state, and federal officials are working to halt the termites' march with millions of dollars for control and treatment programs.
COPYRIGHT 2000 American Forests
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Controlling a pest
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2000
Previous Article:New and improved.
Next Article:America's Ancient Forests: From the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery.

Related Articles
Long-term protection from termites.
No Tenting Tonight.
Lemonade from broken amber: scientists pick up the pieces and move on to termite discoveries. (Cover Story).
Munching along: warning: aggressive alien termites could be headed your way.
Termite trouble.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters