Quarantine On Wood Cellulose Material After Hurricanes Katrina And Rita

Dennis R. Ring, Henderson, Gregg, Morgan, Alan L., Benedict, Linda F.

The commissioner of agriculture in Louisiana imposed a quarantine for the Formosan subterranean termite on October 3, 2005, in Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. The Formosan subterranean termite is the most destructive insect in Louisiana. It is found in about half of Louisiana’s parishes. Thus, the prevention of the Formosan subterranean termite’s spread to other parishes and other states is of utmost concern.

There are several materials in which the Formosan subterranean termite could be moved. These include millions of tons of wood debris left by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and thousands of unsound structures. Plans have been made to turn this wood debris into compost. Architectural components from unsound structures, such as beams or doors, and temporary housing are also materials in which Formosan subterranean termite may be moved.

The quarantine has three objectives: to prevent the spread of the Formosan subterranean termite to locations not now infested, to prevent infestations of existing structures that are not now infested and to prevent the infestation of new and reconstructed structures.

There are several prohibitions and requirements of the quarantine: 

  • First, new construction and reconstruction of structures must be treated for Formosan subterranean termites according to the Louisiana Structural Pest Control Commission’s Rules and Regulations.
  • Second, movement of wood or cellulose material is prohibited unless either (1) it is fumigated or treated for Formosan subterranean termites and is approved for movement by the commissioner or his designee(s) or (2) written authorization is given by the commissioner or his designee(s) for the movement of untreated wood or cellulose material from the quarantined parishes.
  • Third, temporary housing cannot be moved from the named parishes until written authorization is given by the commissioner or his designee(s).
  • Fourth, all architectural components (beams, doors and salvaged wood) cannot be sold or placed in any structure in any parish until the architectural components are fumigated or treated for Formosan subterranean termites. Commercial logging and timber operations and commercial operations involving the sale or distribution of nursery stock are exempted from the quarantine.
Additionally, it is strongly recommended and urged that all new construction and reconstruction of structures in the quarantined parishes use termite-resistant materials. Termite-resistant materials include pressure-treated wood (borates, ammonical copper quat or copper azole) or non-cellulose materials.

The quarantine is in effect until it is rescinded by the commissioner of agriculture. If a waiver of a requirement or an authorization to carry out one of the prohibited acts is granted, it does not rescind or modify the quarantine.

In addition to their devastation, Katrina and Rita provided a special opportunity to spread the Formosan subterranean termite. They also provided a unique opportunity to prevent its spread by following the quarantine and to reduce its severity by using termite-resistant materials. Thus, it is extremely important that these requirements be adopted and practiced.

For a copy of the quarantine, contact the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. For further information on termites, their management, termite-resistant building materials and movement of termites, contact your county agent, Dr. Gregg Henderson (225-578-1831), Dr. Alan Morgan (225-578-2180) or Dr. Dennis Ring (225-578-2180), Department of Entomology, LSU AgCenter, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or go to the "Termites" portion of this Website.
3/4/2006 1:12:12 AM
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