More than four months after Hurricane Katrina and three months after Hurricane Rita, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom is once again reminding homeowners to consider their options in preventing future Formosan termite infestations.
“We know for a fact that there are huge colonies of Formosan termites in the New Orleans and Lake Charles areas. Those colonies are still there and they’re looking for new food,” Odom said. “Now is the time to take action and prevent termites from destroying what is likely your largest investment.”
Odom also reminded those who are cleaning up, and/or rebuilding, about the quarantine in place for debris and architectural components. The quarantined parishes are Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington. The quarantine specifies that wood cannot be moved from any of these parishes into Formosan termite-free parishes until a plan has been submitted to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
“The thousands of tons of debris out there have the potential to transport Formosan termites to areas currently unaffected or to continue breeding more and more termites in the New Orleans and Lake Charles areas,” Odom said. “We’re taking the steps necessary to try to prevent these things from happening.”
Structures in south Louisiana are typically treated with a preventative barrier during construction and post construction. Some owners also choose to build with termite-treated or termite-resistant products. After construction, baiting stations and liquid treatments are used as tools for detecting and destroying termite colonies.
“There are several options out there, all of which are more effective when they are used in combination,” Odom said. “They are the best line of defense against termite infestation. If you’ve never treated before, I would urge you to do it now. I know some homes in the affected areas were treated prior to the storms but may need reapplication to guarantee efficacy.”
Bait stations, a common sight in yards across the south, probably need to be replaced if the yard was flooded. Soils that were treated with barrier chemicals may also need to be retreated.
“If treated soil washed away after the storm, the barrier is no longer there. If large deposits of silt, sludge and muddy soil are now on top of the treated soil, the barrier is more than likely no longer effective,” Odom said. “This is why now is the opportune time to evaluate your situation and take the necessary precautions to protect your home. It would be a double disaster to lose your home to a hurricane this year, rebuild and then lose it to Formosan termites next year.”