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"HUNGRY HOME WRECKERS" Termites infest all houses and 30 percent of the trees in greater New Orleans
icfhomes.com ^ | Sept/Oct 2000 | Sharon O'Malley

Posted on 09/13/2005 3:12:33 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

There are two kinds of homes in New Orleans' historic French Quarter, says Allen Fugler, vice president of marketing for Lipca, an insurer of pest-control operator: "homes that have Formosan termites and those that will get them fairly soon".

Indeed, the vicious Formosan subterranean termite, dubbed "super termite" by Louisiana State University's agriculture research and extension center, has infested nearly all of the houses and 30 percent of the trees in greater New Orleans, costing homeowners and the state and federal governments $300 million annually in repairs and prevention efforts. Unlike ordinary termites, these pests can literally destroy a wood-framed structure in a few years.

The tab for controlling these ferocious bugs and repairing the property they damage in the 11 states where they've been found is close to $1 billion annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. And the Federal government, which calls New Orleans "ground zero" in its effort to eradicate the persistent pests, is devoting $15 million to the project.

The situation in New Orleans is so urgent that Louisiana's agriculture commissioner recently considered forcing builders to use pesticide-treated lumber for everything from framing to sheathing to kitchen cabinets, a move he backed away from once cost-conscious contractors caught wind of the plan.

But the problem remains: The hardy critters, whose queen can live for 20 or more years and drop 2,000 eggs a day, are "literally eating people out of house and home here," says Fugler, a member of a state Formosan task force. "It's not uncommon to build a home in south Louisiana and in a matter of a few short years have a termite infestation.

UNWELCOME IMMIGRANT

The Formosan subterranean termite, apparently shipped from China to ports in Louisiana, Texas, and South Carolina on military cargo vessels after World War II, is far more aggressive than native termites, which dine on dead trees and processed wood. Formosans have a taste for everything cellulose: wood, paper, fruits, nuts, cork and live plants. And they'll gnaw or squeeze their little bodies through virtually anything to get to their food, including electrical wires, plaster, plastic, and the tiniest cracks in concrete. The only help they need is a bit of moisture, which a humid climate, a leaky faucet, or even an oft-watered flower pot on a porch stoop can provide.

Once inside, the hungry home wreckers can devour a dwelling's entire wood structure in tow years, says Julian R. Yates III of the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Ron Gomez, a spokesman for the Louisiana Home Builders Association, says builders in Hawaii, where the termites have been a problem since 1913, tell him that a for-sale sign planted in front of a Formosan-infested home can be eaten in a day. And Louisiana-Pacific, which recently introduced a line of borate-treated OSB that company officials claim repels and kills the pests, says a single Formosan can consume more than 1,000 pounds of wood a year, causing 71 times more damage than any other termite species.

The beastly bugs virtually hid from site in southern Louisiana until the late 1980's , when the U.S. Environment Protection Agency banned chlordane, an effective pesticide that's been linked to cancer. Since then, pesticides used to treat new home foundations have proven less effective, by all accounts, easing the spread of Formosan colonies.

WORTH THE COST?

Responsibility for keeping the insect at bay has been left largely to homeowners, who, in turn, rely on exterminators to inspect their houses each year and plant baits at a cost of about $1,500 if they find the Formosan. But Mandeville, LA builder Ron Knick says leaving treatment in the hands of homeowners has been ineffective. He cites calls from three former clients whose homes were infested after they let their $85-a-year termite-control contracts lapse. It cost each homeowner between $900 and $5,000 for repairs.

Knick's build/remodel firm, Knick Custom Homes, used L-P's borate-treated OSB and a bit of green wood - pine that was pressure-treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a preservative typically used on wood for outdoor decks - on his latest project. The 2,650-square-foot home cost $4,000 more than usual for framing material, Knick says, adding he's pitching the $165,000 house as "termite proof". L-P estimates that using is SmartGuard adds between 1.5 percent and 2 percent to the cost of building a house.

That's a price even Knick, who calls SmartGuard "a good selling feature", says is too steep for most New Orleans home buyers. "I can't afford to spend another $4,000 on SmartGuard framing materials," says the builder. He got the treated wood for his "termite-proof" house for the same price as kiln-dried material in a promotional deal with his lumber supplier. "At this point in time, [home buyers] aren't that familiar with it.

THE CCA ALTERNATIVE

That could change in short order if a campaign by the National Association of Home Builders and the Louisiana Home Builders Association is successful. The groups are producing consumer brochures explaining how homeowners can keep their houses termite-free, and they plan to ask bankers, real estate agents, and builders to ply customers with them. As part of the plan, potential home buyers also will receive information about other framing material options: SmartGuard; CCA-treated lumber; steel; concrete forms; or untreated lumber. that way, they can decide whether to build with - and pay for - a more expensive material, association officials say.

The plan was developed after the Louisiana legislature granted sweeping authority to state agriculture commissioner Bob Odom to mandate across-the-board changes in local building codes so builders would have to use treated wood in all new homes. When the state home builders association objected, Odom initially agreed to limit the mandate to new Orleans, an edict the group rejected as well, says spokesman Gomez. Finally, Odom, who is working with an advisory task force, put the plan on hold. Gomez says the builders hope the commissioner with hold of long enough to give them time to lobby the legislature during its next session in spring 2001 to rescind Odom's code-altering power.

Like Knick, who says, "If I had a vote, I would vote against [mandatory use of treated lumber] because of the added expense," the association's leaders say such a rule would drive up home prices without curing the area's termite infestation. "We can offer all options to builders and homeowners, but please don't do this mandate," says Gomez.

Builder Randy Noel, Louisiana's representative on the NAHB board and chairman of its Formosan task force, agrees. He estimates building with treated lumber would likely cost 30 percent more because of the extra care contractors must take handling and disposing of the chemical-doused wood. And carpenters and construction crews will face added health risks if constantly exposed to treated wood.

The Formosan, once established, has never been eradicated from any area.

Manufacturers, however, disagree. "Absolutely not," argues Mel Pine, manager of communications for the American Wood Preservers Institute. Pine says several studies from Hawaii, where Formosan termites are rampant and builders have been required to use treated lumber or steel for years, show that construction workers who handle CCA-treated wood have no different health problems than those who work with untreated lumber.

"Anything that's going to cost more, they resist unless they think it's going to be a giant seller," says Metairie, LA builder Leonard Isacks, who has built three houses using borate-treated lumber from Osmose. Talk about health problems, he says, is a "smokescreen by builders in a tight, competitive market. They don't want to do anything that doesn't show to the public and help sell a house. They'd rather spend their money on pretty picture windows."

"The HBA really does a disservice to people," continues Isacks. The well-off buyers of his custom-built homes, however, are in a better position than many buyers to absorb the extra cost, he says, which has averaged 2 percent.

HELPFUL HINTS

The upside of the controversy, notes Gomez, is that builders are putting their heads together with pest controllers in an effort to find a compromise. "For the first time, they have had meetings with pest-control operators so they can coordinate what they're doing," he says. Typically, contractors cross paths with exterminators only when they treat soil before a foundation is laid.

Cole Schober, executive director of the Louisiana Pest Control Association in Baton Rouge, agrees that cooperation will engender a suitable stopgap solution while all parties wait for scientists to figure out how to kill off critters. And he agrees that educating consumers is the smart next step.

"The homeowners' No. 1 need is to be cognizant of the conditions that likely will increase the possibility of a Formosan termite infestation," Schober says. These include moisture from leaky faucets or plants that are too close to the home; soil above the slab; stacks of firewood leaning against the house; wooden landscaping ties that bring the bugs perilously close to the dwelling; and, of course, expired termite-control contracts.

Builders, likewise, need education on the matter, Schober notes. He says construction crews should not walk on treated soil before pouring a foundation, as each footstep lifts some of the chemical from the ground and potentially leaves an untreated speck of dirt - enough to allow a crafty termite to survive. In addition, he says, crews should not leave wooden stakes or form boards lying near the house or under the foundation. And builders should leave 6 inches of the concrete foundation exposed to make it harder for termites to bore their way into the house from the soil.

Still, Schober admits, "Even if you do all of those things, you can't guarantee that you won't have a problem. But if you do all of those things, the likelihood of getting Formosan termites is greatly reduced."

Yet he says the bugs may always be an issue. "This problem was created in 50 years; it's not going to go away in five," he says.

OTHER CHOICES

In the meantime, the USDA and Louisiana State University, among others, are scurrying to create more potent chemicals for use in bait traps, which are planted along the perimeter of a home to keep the termites far from an untreated structure. L-P is marketing its SmartGuard, along with Osmose's Advance Guard - borate-treated studs and joists to complement L-P's treated OSB - in Louisiana, Texas and Florida, and builders are watching for other manufacturers to offer some competition so prices will drop.

Meanwhile, one manufacturer, P.I.M. Development of Kaneohe, Hawaii, crafts removable baseboards so exterminators can easily look for the mud tunnels through which termites travel into a home. And Hawaiian builders are experimenting with mesh wire that's installed as a barrier inside walls to catch termites before they can get into the wood frame.

"There is no silver bullet for control that we know of," says Schober. And there may never be: The University of Florida's Department of Entomology says the Formosan termite, once established, has never been eradicated from any area.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: federalaid; flooding; katrina; louisiana; neworleans; pests; termites
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As Formosan termites chew their way through homes in Louisiana and elsewhere in the South, builders and legislators are left searching for solutions.
1 posted on 09/13/2005 3:12:40 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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(Nov 2003) "Science"

The bug that ate New Orleans

***............The termites do such a fast and thorough job of gutting wood support beams that houses sometimes collapse without warning.

Over the past 15 years they have easily destroyed more of the Big Easy than hurricanes, tornadoes and floods combined.

The dinner bill for this movable feast of wood is $3 billion and growing. And authorities warn that the insects are expanding their range in the United States, moving as far north as North Carolina to date.

In the French Quarter, the cultural heart of a city as much covered by charm as its stately live oaks are by Spanish moss, the voracious termites have eaten through the roof of a police station just off Bourbon Street. They've also shredded the joists under the second floor of The Cabildo, the 1795 building where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.

Matt Messenger of the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board said the quarter is a magnet for the termites.

"The French Quarter is a termite nightmare," Messenger said, "with its dense wooden construction, common-walled buildings, leaky roofs and moisture retaining brickwork and no open ground.''

In the home of James Cahn, built around a lush courtyard on Barracks Street in 1850, the battle is constant, as it is in almost all the old French Quarter buildings. He's had to replace the roof three times since he bought his home in 1979. For eight years, one interior wall has been ripped out to expose the wooden joists for treatments to get the termites out. In the courtyard, a big magnolia tree with a trunk diameter of more than six feet has been infested and treated with pesticides four times.

"We found six termite nests when we renovated the house and places where they've eaten all of the two-by-fours,'' Cahn said. "In the living room there are holes above the window where they've eaten through the plaster.

"We've seen places where they've eaten through tin to get at the wood.''............***

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03307/236173.stm


2 posted on 09/13/2005 3:14:08 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The beastly bugs virtually hid from site in southern Louisiana. . .

Just who is the copy editor here?

3 posted on 09/13/2005 3:18:58 PM PDT by Andyman (The world should not be ruled by those who are most easily offended.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Isn't this also a description of what comprise's a liberal in the US?


4 posted on 09/13/2005 3:21:26 PM PDT by stockpirate (If you are a John Kerry fan check out my about me page, you'll toss your lunch.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Pine is the replacement wood on remodels, those older buildings were built from cypress and termites and cypress don't mix. SYP (Pine) is a Termite Magnet at about 1/3 the cost of cypress (if you can find it)

I wouldn't doubt that 99% of the Termite damage reported was infested Pine, Treating Pine to be Termite resistant is not kosher with Enviro Whackies, (bugs gotta eat)

TT
5 posted on 09/13/2005 3:21:52 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

>>>"We've seen places where they've eaten through tin to get at the wood.''............***"<<<

Rocket Scientist Alert!!!


6 posted on 09/13/2005 3:23:28 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: Andyman; All
The EPA is worried about some of the chemicals floating in the waters flooding New Orleans:

......And along with traces of pesticides below federal guidelines, the EPA analysis also unearthed more than a dozen other chemicals in the putrid water for which the agency does not have standards

Perhaps it's all the termite killing toxins.

7 posted on 09/13/2005 3:24:30 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

New Orleans should be bulldozed and not rebuilt with Federal taxes. Former Mayor Moriel (spelling?) once said it's a city that should not have been built, and he was right about that.


8 posted on 09/13/2005 3:29:02 PM PDT by foofoopowder
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
DROWNED termites?... the horror.. the horror..
The termites are in the attic joists and beams now... should be easy(easyier) to kill them.. A couple of insecticide bombs in some attics and it should be curtains for them..
9 posted on 09/13/2005 3:29:37 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been ok'ed by me to included some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

How about building with concrete block?


10 posted on 09/13/2005 3:31:28 PM PDT by July 4th (A vacant lot cancelled out my vote for Bush.)
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To: foofoopowder

I think your opinion might be a growning one.

We need shipping on the Mississippi River but a port is different than a city.


11 posted on 09/13/2005 3:34:50 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: foofoopowder

***growing***


12 posted on 09/13/2005 3:35:22 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: TexasTransplant

Thanks for the info.


13 posted on 09/13/2005 3:38:03 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The Formosan Termite is a big problem is Hawaii. The University of Hawaii did some research and found that if you build your house with the foundation on a bed of gravel of a certain size, the termites can't tunnel up into your home. The gravel keeps collapsing as the termites try to tunnel upwards to the wooden foundation.


14 posted on 09/13/2005 3:38:49 PM PDT by etcetera
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To: etcetera

Now that's interesting.

Is it true?

It seems too simple.


15 posted on 09/13/2005 3:40:12 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Andyman
The beastly bugs virtually hid from site in southern Louisiana. . .

Just who is the copy editor here?

A Publik Screwall Graduate? The termites never got internet a long time ago but got their site now?

They are hungry in NOLA(plus the sub-tropical climate) as Orkin got paid as regularly as the utility bill when we lived there.

16 posted on 09/13/2005 3:44:08 PM PDT by Johnny Crab (Who DAT says dem busses ain't good enough? They're not just FOR THE CHILDREN....)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The bug that ate New Orleans
17 posted on 09/13/2005 3:45:04 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The bug that ate New Orleans Bush's Fault!
18 posted on 09/13/2005 3:45:30 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: Arizona Carolyn

It is a dry heat in Arizona.


19 posted on 09/13/2005 3:45:48 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; All
LINK: www.concretehomesmagazine.com


20 posted on 09/13/2005 3:46:18 PM PDT by Conservative Firster
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Well of course! George and Karl let millions of them loose in NO from AF1.


21 posted on 09/13/2005 3:46:27 PM PDT by ladyinred (It is all my fault okay?)
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To: TexasTransplant
>>"We've seen places where they've eaten through tin to get at the wood.''............***"<<<

Rocket Scientist Alert!!!

Is that ROBO-termite?

22 posted on 09/13/2005 3:46:59 PM PDT by Johnny Crab (Who DAT says dem busses ain't good enough? They're not just FOR THE CHILDREN....)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; etcetera
A Better Way to Keep Termites at Bay

Interestingly enough, it's from the Times-Picayune.

23 posted on 09/13/2005 3:48:32 PM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I hope they can't swim.

Actually, eliminating these termites seems like a perfect job for genetic engineering. Surely somebody could engineer a sterile strain that would cause the population to die, like they've done for other insects.


24 posted on 09/13/2005 3:48:48 PM PDT by dinodino
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To: hosepipe
A couple of insecticide bombs in some attics and it should be curtains for them..

That's not how you kill termites - you have to bait 'em or put up a barrier ..

25 posted on 09/13/2005 3:49:01 PM PDT by 11th_VA (And so it was in the days of Noah ...)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; Calpernia; tiamat; Southack; Howlin
"...the U.S. Environment Protection Agency banned chlordane, an effective pesticide that's been linked to cancer. Since then, pesticides used to treat new home foundations have proven less effective, by all accounts, easing the spread of Formosan colonies."

I'd like to see a comparison of all the other carcinogens' cumulative effect vs. this one effective chemical. And I'll raise you one--add DDT. We could probably wipe out these termites, mosquitoes AND fire ants. The EPA needs its nose rubbed in this, big time.

26 posted on 09/13/2005 3:51:34 PM PDT by The Spirit Of Allegiance (SAVE THE BRAINFOREST! Boycott the RED Dead Tree Media & NUKE the DNC Class Action Temper Tantrum!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The gravel keeps collapsing as the termites try to tunnel upwards to the wooden foundation.

Now that's interesting. Is it true? It seems too simple.

It only has one drawback though:


27 posted on 09/13/2005 3:55:53 PM PDT by 11th_VA (And so it was in the days of Noah ...)
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To: mewzilla
From your LINK:

............Invented by University of Hawaii entomologist Minoru Tamashiro, Basaltic Termite Barrier is made of volcanic rock ground to a precise consistency: 1.7 to 2 millimeters. Granules that size are too big for termites to move, and pack too tightly for termites to penetrate. The gravel must be carefully raked and graded to a uniform 4-inch thickness before a slab is poured over it. BTB is also poured around the foundation. It can cost about $3,000 for an average-sized house. It is not available on the mainland due to the high cost of shipping, though tests have shown granite could be used the same way. .........***

28 posted on 09/13/2005 3:55:57 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: 11th_VA

Now you can't kid me!

LOL!

That's a sink hole if I ever saw one!


29 posted on 09/13/2005 3:57:03 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Oh my lookee here. George Bush, master flood maker, may have rid New Orleans of all it's termites. Guess they'll be celebrating a St. Georges Day soon.

www.ars.usda.gov/research

Bacteria, which are lethal to Formosan subterranean termites, have been isolated from termite colonies and evaluated for their ability to kill this termite. Several strains of bacteria killed 100% of the termites in laboratory tests.

30 posted on 09/13/2005 3:58:09 PM PDT by RGSpincich
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To: TexasTransplant

Here in Houston, those little bast__ds will even eat through sheetrock to deposit their "droppings" in your living rooms....


31 posted on 09/13/2005 3:58:57 PM PDT by cbkaty (I may not always post...but I am always here......)
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To: Conservative Firster

Thats a great magazine


32 posted on 09/13/2005 4:04:50 PM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
when the U.S. Environment Protection Agency banned chlordane, an effective pesticide that's been linked to cancer.

Yeah, if you drink 5 gallons a day for 50 years, you might get cancer!

33 posted on 09/13/2005 4:05:40 PM PDT by Doomonyou (FR doesn't suffer fools lightly.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"It seems too simple."

I saw a demonstration of it at some home improvement show in Honolulu. They had two aquarium-type setups of termites, one with the gravel and one without. The wood target piece above the gravel bed was untouched. The wood target without the gravel was riddled with holes.

Supposedly the university is working with builders in Hawaii to make this discovery available to home owners. Simple but effective.

34 posted on 09/13/2005 4:25:13 PM PDT by etcetera
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To: RGSpincich
George Bush, master flood maker, may have rid New Orleans of all it's termites. Guess they'll be celebrating a St. Georges Day soon.

I award you "post of the thread."

35 posted on 09/13/2005 4:27:48 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: etcetera

I see.

Post # 23 supports your information.

Neat stuff.


36 posted on 09/13/2005 4:28:51 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Maybe the toxic brew left by Katrina will kill them.


37 posted on 09/13/2005 4:32:42 PM PDT by wildbill
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To: wildbill
I don't hold out much hope for the integrity of these structures.
38 posted on 09/13/2005 4:37:43 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

IIRC, the Formosans are flying termites. They can start from the roof and chew their way down.


39 posted on 09/13/2005 4:51:08 PM PDT by Rebelbase ("Run Hillary Run" bumper stickers. Liberals place on rear bumper, conservatives put on front bumper)
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To: cbkaty
Cockroaches eat the paper on the back side of Sheetrock and then find there way in, they live inside of our walls, the main entry point inside of our houses is if you have carpet, they find a way between the baseboard and the carpet and that entrance is hidden.

Just did a Major remodel and the inside of our walls were SCARY, almost all of the paper on the backside of the Sheetrock was gone, holes drilled through Sheetrock in many places, our home is about 60 years old (give or take) with literally an inch of Cockroach wings/remains at the bottom of the wall between the studs. Thank goodness that none of us are allergic to cockroaches.

TT


Amazing
40 posted on 09/13/2005 4:59:56 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Termites cannot live in water; problem solved.


41 posted on 09/13/2005 5:18:25 PM PDT by Loyal Buckeye
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Termites cannot live in water; problem solved.


42 posted on 09/13/2005 5:18:33 PM PDT by Loyal Buckeye
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I've got a log home...spent 800 bucks on Glycol Borate recently to prevent future infestations. Glycol allows the borate to seep deep within the logs. Plus, it's up 2-4 feet from the ground on a foundation. In addition, I have the yearly termite inspections....scary to think what could happen if I hadn't done this.


43 posted on 09/13/2005 6:29:46 PM PDT by ImaGraftedBranch (God is my Fulcrum; prayer is my lever -- Saint Therese of Lisieux)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

When my house in Houston got termites 20 some odd years ago it was treated with chlorodane and never had one problem after that.


44 posted on 09/13/2005 6:49:20 PM PDT by BnBlFlag (Deo Vindice/Semper Fidelis)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

But... we have termites and have to thoroughly spray the before pouring the foundation of our homes and then again after construction before wrapping and stucco.


45 posted on 09/13/2005 6:56:57 PM PDT by Arizona Carolyn
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To: Johnny Crab
Two years ago my wife and I rented a cute little house on Las Olas Blvd in Ft Lauderdale. One night we turned off the lights to watch a movie; when I got up and turned on the lights about two hours later there was a swarm of thousands of termites pouring like liquid up from the floor boards. My wife went hysterical and I stomped my way to the garage for a broom. As I was sweeping piles of the vile little creatures out the front door I realized I was losing. They were sending reinforcements way too fast. I stomped my way back to the garage for my caulking gun and proceeded to empty three tubes into their entry routes. It worked, but I spent all night killing the stragglers. The next day I bombed the house and started moving out.

I'm not a big fan of termites.
46 posted on 09/13/2005 7:11:23 PM PDT by IYAAYAS (Live free or die trying)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The beastly bugs virtually hid from site in southern Louisiana until the late 1980's , when the U.S. Environment Protection Agency banned chlordane, an effective pesticide that's been linked to cancer. Since then, pesticides used to treat new home foundations have proven less effective, by all accounts, easing the spread of Formosan colonies.
---

Why can't people take their own risks if they choose with it? The EPA is playing God again?


47 posted on 09/13/2005 9:11:29 PM PDT by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/janicerogersbrown.htm)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
And Louisiana-Pacific, which recently introduced a line of borate-treated OSB that company officials claim repels and kills the pests, says a single Formosan can consume more than 1,000 pounds of wood a year, causing 71 times more damage than any other termite species.

I find it hard to believe that a single insect can consume 3 pounds of wood per day. Maybe they mean a single colony of termites.

48 posted on 09/13/2005 11:20:17 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: Arizona Carolyn

I know.

With all the talk of water, the word Arizona in your name made me think of dry.


49 posted on 09/14/2005 1:23:33 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Operation full stop in full swing

Agricultural Research, July, 2003 by Frank S. Guillot


When you think of agricultural research, you usually think of wheat fields, cattle ranches, or chicken flocks. But agricultural research can sometimes have a very urban focus. Such is the case with Operation Full Stop, a cooperative program spearheaded by the Agricultural Research Service. It's aimed at beating back the Formosan subterranean termite in New Orleans' famed French Quarter and elsewhere.

Formosan termites are exotic invaders from Asia believed to have entered the United States more than 50 years ago by stowing away in crates, pallets, and other packing materials aboard ships bringing supplies and troops back home from the Pacific Theater during and after World War II.

Spreading from the ports, Formosan termites began a subterranean colonization of the country. But they remained virtually unknown until the mid-1960s when their population appeared to explode. Today, they have infested parts of 11 states and are costing more than $1 billion each year in damage, repairs, and control efforts.

Startlingly successful in its adaptation to the southern United States, this invasive species has become a special menace to the legendary French Quarter, threatening the neighborhood's historic buildings.

In 1998, Congress called on ARS to lead the effort to find a way to handle the Formosan termite and take immediate action to protect the landmark neighborhood.

ARS has always been a leader in areawide pest management research, and the agency has had significant success dealing with foreign invasive species. Not all invasive species are agricultural pests. But the same entomological expertise is needed to battle such invaders whether they live in the country or in the city. And based on the termites' biology and aggressive foraging behavior, an areawide strategy was clearly needed.

Another advantage ARS provided was a sophisticated research complex--already located in New Orleans. The Southern Regional Research Center offered a well-equipped base for scientists near one of the world's largest concentrations of this problem pest.

ARS and other members of the team, including Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board, University of Florida, and University of Hawaii (where Formosan termites are also a problem), immediately began to seek ways to halt the invasion. Other collaborators include Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University, and the University of Mississippi.

Fortunately, just as the program began, the pest control industry was introducing several new technologies to battle native termites. For the first time, termite control was going on the offense--with baits and poisons designed to kill termites--instead of defense, with barriers to keep termites out of buildings and homes.

ARS began to adapt these new technologies into an areawide approach against foreign termites. At the same time, fundamental research into the insect's biology and habits was also begun to develop new approaches to stopping the Formosan termite.

A unique aspect of Operation Full Stop is the way in which the research has been carried out. Usually, research starts in the laboratory, moves to field trials, and then eventually makes its way through technology transfer into the hands of users.

But Operation Full Stop has involved the public and local pest management professionals from day one. The termite emergency in the French Quarter required that some control measure be started right away. New technologies arising from fundamental research would be applied in the French Quarter as they emerged.

Areawide suppression in an urban area is very difficult. The French Quarter has 2,900 households, and every one of them has to be completely involved. This contrasts with traditional termite control methods, which have always been done house by house, structure by structure. But such piecemeal attacks do not work against the Formosan termite. So public education and outreach have been basic components of the project from the beginning--not after the research has been completed--because people need to know that conventional methods of control do not solve the Formosan termite problem.

And when you are talking about protecting a historic area from destruction, there can be no true "untreated control" area for comparison. We can only compare damage and termite numbers from year to year to confirm that we are making progress.

Education has another important role. We need to teach the public to recognize the Formosan termite when it spreads to a new area so that control can be taken before the insect becomes entrenched. That's a critical part for communities to play.

But in the 5 short years that Operation Full Stop has been under way, we have made significant progress. What we are learning in the French Quarter is already helping to create techniques to deal with the Formosan termite throughout the Southeast. You can read about the success of the team's research on pages 4-8 of this issue of Agricultural Research. And if you live where Formosan termites may be a threat, you may want to check out further details at www.ars.usda.gov/is/fullstop.

Frank S. Guillot

ARS Formosan Termite National Program Coordinator

New Orleans, Louisiana


50 posted on 09/14/2005 1:37:29 AM PDT by kcvl
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