News Release Distributed 02/15/06
Owners of South Louisiana property affected by last year’s hurricanes may need to evaluate the termite protection for their homes and other buildings but won’t necessarily need to treat again, according to an entomologist with the LSU AgCenter.
LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dennis Ring said a key point to consider about the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita is how water affected the soil – particularly whether it may have disturbed the termite barrier applied around a structure.
Experts generally agree termites are still around, although the pests probably are smaller in numbers in areas where floodwaters stood for many days.
"Soil treatments for termites bind to the soil, so if the soil is not washed away or if new soil hasn’t been deposited over the top, the termite treatment should still be viable," Ring said.
The LSU AgCenter entomologist explained soil barriers against termites generally are good for five years, so any treatments four years old or older should be considered for retreatment. If the treatment was more recent, Ring said the insecticide should still be in the ground.
A problem could arise, however, if the treated soil has been disturbed, Ring said. If the barrier has been broken or covered, termites could be able to go through or over the pesticide and enter the structure.
Ring said soil treatments for termites are 4-inches wide and 6-inches deep to provide a barrier to keep critters from entering a structure. "Anything that would compromise that barrier would allow termites to enter," he said.
"Don’t do anything to it. Don’t dig. Don’t cover it. Don’t provide a bridge for termites to get around or over the barrier," Ring said.
According to the pesticide manufacturers, the termite barrier binds to the soil and doesn’t leach away. "The best we know, it’s still there," Ring said of a termite treatment following a flood.
In any case, Ring recommended contacting the pest control company that has the contract on the structure. They may at least want to do an inspection.
On the other hand, the expert said bait stations definitely need to be checked.
"If you have a bait system in the ground, a pest management professional needs to replace the wood or bait matrix and start monitoring the stations," Ring said.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture