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Re: Termites

ah, the voice of reason. thanks.
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message ----- From: <Cersgarden@aol.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2006 11:28 AM
Subject: [CHAT] Termites

The following is the infor I recd from ISU on termites.

Termites in Mulch b another urban myth

There has been considerable interest in Formosan termites after an article
began circling on the Internet claiming Formosan termites will be coming to
your house if you buy low priced wood-chip mulch from garden centers this
spring. The theory is that trees blown down in New Orleans by Hurricane
were infested with termites and that those trees willed be chipped into mulch
and shipped across the country, spreading Formosan termites.

In my opinion, this scenario starts with a small ounce of fact but then adds
sensationalism and exaggeration while ignoring other pertinent facts to come
up with an urban legend.

Yes, there are Formosan termites in New Orleans and yes, they create aerial
colonies (above ground) in trees, especially in the rainy, humid environment
New Orleans. Yes they are extremely destructive to houses and difficult to
control. See http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/termites/

Yes, there are warnings and quarantines against moving building materials
from damaged homes for use in other structures or areas. Of special concern
architectural components such as beams, doors and salvaged lumber and lumber
taken from damaged buildings and stored on the ground where it can become
termite-infested. Railroad ties and landscape timbers installed on the
ground are
similarly a potential problem, and have a far greater and better documented
risk of moving termites.

The state of Louisiana neither encourages nor condones the sale of wood waste
in mulch from the hurricane damaged areas. If anyone is chipping, bagging
and selling mulch from southern LA it is being done under the radar and illeg
ally. The same would be true for Texas where there are also large
of wood from Hurricane Rita-affected areas that also have Formosan termites.
It is very unlikely that any retailer, especially large retailers mentioned
in the internet article, would buy and distribute mulch from illegal sources.

We do not know for sure that termites will not survive in wood chips but we
believe that it is highly unlikely that they would survive the
mulching/chipping process. The chipping process is as destructive to insects
as it is to
tree limbs and the likelihood is low of transporting a viable colony of
termites in this manner. Further, any composting that occurs will raise the
temperature inside a mulch pile to the point that termites will not survive.

In summary, there is no guarantee Formosan termites will not spread, but the
claims made in the current Internet rumor are overblown and needlessly
alarmist for those of us living in the upper Midwest, far away from the normal
where Formosan termites can survive.

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