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State Moves To Eradicate New Termite Threat

Posted: May 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Tree termites, Nasutitermes corniger, have been found in Dania Beach. (University of Florida, Courtesy / May 7, 2012)

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) A tiny terror which could destroy your home or business has been found in one Broward city and now the state has launched an offensive to get rid of them before they spread.

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Agriculture launched a program to eradicate tree termites which have invested four areas of Dania Beach. More than 40 properties have reported tree termite infestations in these areas.

Agriculture department workers will spend the next four days in the infested areas spraying any tree termite nests or tunnels they come across.

The beauty of putting it in the tubes that if you miss a nest theyll take it in that tube back to the nest, said Andy Rackley with the states agriculture department.

Were trying to prevent it from becoming the 21st endemic termite in the state of Florida, said agriculture spokesman Mark Fagan.

Tree termites, or Nasutitermes corniger, are unique in that live above ground in nests which can grow to the size of beach balls. They build brown tubes as tunnels up the sides of structures. Tree termites attack homes and buildings, as well as lumber and wood products and are capable of causing widespread damage. That especially attracted to hard woods.

So far they have not spread outside of Dania Beach and the state wants to keep it that way.

The difficult part of it is when they swarm theyll move to a new location but they wont develop in that location for maybe several, until we actually see evidence of them, said Rackley.

The tree termite, a native to the Caribbean, was first found in Dania Beach in 2001. After an aggressive eradication campaign they state thought they had seen the last of them in 2003. Last summer they turned up again.

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Facts for Families: Bagged wood chips and shredded bark mulch are safe to use

Posted: at 11:31 pm

Every year a common myth emerges claiming that fresh mulch used in home landscape beds could contain termites.

Do not believe this myth! Dont worry about what you buy this spring. Bagged wood chips and shredded bark mulch are safe to use.

Mulch that originates in the South can sometimes contain the Formosan termite, which was imported years ago from China. This termite does cause severe devastation to homes in the southern United States.

However, the pest doesnt have the ability to survive Illinois winters.

David Robson, extension specialist, explains further: Termites cant reproduce and cause massive problems in one year.

Its an on-going problem as colonies build up over the years. Since these termites die during the winter, the colony never gets a chance to get established.

In addition, termites feed below groundthey are subterranean creatures. So, they wont be in the materials as they are pulverized into mulch.

The biggest problem may occur when the ground-up wood material is allowed to sit on the ground for months. At that point, it may be colonized by the termites. But, the termites probably will be using it more for feeding than for nesting.

Termites wont likely survive a chipping and bagging process. Termites prefer cool, moist conditions that are seldom found in bagged mulch, says Robson. And if for some reason the termites did survive the chipping, there is a strong possibility that few termites would be packaged together, also limiting the chance that termites would colonize quickly up north, Robson said.

Homeowners can limit termite activity, even with the ones present in Illinois, by mulching properly. Apply no more than 3 inches of mulch to any area, advises Robson. This allows the mulch to dry out regularly, creating a dry environment that termites dislike. You can even mulch up to the foundation of your home if you limit the depth to less than 3 inches.

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Eradication of dangerous termites to begin today

Posted: at 11:31 pm

A uniquely dangerous termite that tunnels up the sides of houses has turned up in South Florida, leading agriculture officials to organize a campaign to wipe it out before it can spread.

The Nasutitermes corniger termite, which is native to the Caribbean, lives above ground, builds brown tubes up the outside walls of houses and shows a particular taste for hardwood. The insect’s above-ground habitat means it would avoid direct competition with native, subterranean termites and raise the total number of termites that could live in the region by 25 to 30 percent, said Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, professor of entomology at the University of Florida.

“They forage on the open floor, which is something you don’t see unless you live in the tropics,” he said. “They love to eat hardwoods. They ate the handles off garden implements, rakes and hoes turned them into shredded wheat. If this thing really keeps going, it’s going to be a problem for tropical Florida, from West Palm Beach to the Keys.”

A dozen field workers from the Florida Department of Agriculture on Tuesday will blitz neighborhoods in Dania Beach, the only city so far in which the termites have been found, treating 42 properties that harbor the insects. The termite’s beach ball-sized nests, made of termite excrement and constructed above ground, will be sprayed, as well as the foraging tubes running up trees and houses.

On Southwest 25th Avenue, where the termites have been found in several houses and trees, Martha Rosen said she and her husband first noticed strange dark lines going up the sides of their house. Soon they realized what was causing them.

“They got into the tool shed and ate our stack of firewood,” she said. “We went to pick it up and there was no wood left. They’re very aggressive. My trees look like they’re almost dead. ”

The species first showed up in Dania Beach in 2001. Aggressive spraying was thought to have eradicated it, but then it turned up last summer. They are thought to have originally arrived on wooden pallets brought from the Caribbean to a nearby marina, said Michael Page, chief of the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control for the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Mark Fagan, spokesman for the state agriculture department, said the termite was found in the walls of the International Game Fish Association, just west of Interstate 95 and south of Griffin Road. Since then, he said, they have been found on 42 properties in neighborhoods for about a square mile around that site.

Fagan said the eradication work will take about four days.

The termites are ant-like in appearance. Unlike the 20 or so local species of termite, they can be seen crawling along the ground. If you think you have them on your property, call the Florida Department of Agriculture hotline at 888-397-1517.

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Tree termites infesting Dania Beach

Posted: at 11:31 pm

DANIA BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — Officials want to eradicate a dangerous breed of termites in one South Florida neighborhood before they spread.

The Tree Termite does not, bite but is something homeowners definitely do not want around the house. “They will eat a house down pretty quickly,” said a Florida Department of Agriculture crew member.

No one knows how they arrived in South Florida, and now their colonies are growing. “The closest areas they’re native to is Cuba, but they’re found throughout the West Indies, Central and South America,” said Rudolf Scheffrahn of the University of Florida.

In recent years, the termites turned up in Dania Beach. On Tuesday, crews with Florida’s Department of Agriculture went throughout Dania Beach, spraying and assessing the situation.

Scientists at the University of Florida found a massive colony outside of the Fishing Hall of Fame. “That’s the biggest one I’ve seen in Florida. It’s the size of a giant watermelon,” said Scheffrahn. “It probably has one and a half, two million individuals in it.”

Unlike other types of termites, the Tree Termite lives on the ground, not under ground or inside of wood. “So they can move across a yard overnight very quickly to find a new piece of wood to feed on,” said Scheffrahn.

The State wants to stop the termites before any more South Florida homes become their next feast. “They can actually nest inside a wall, they can get up into the attic, eat the trusses and any supporting wood,” said the crew member.

Brown foraging trails on homes or on trees in yards are indications of an infestation. If you notice these on your home or in your yard, contact the Department of Agriculture right away. They will come out and exterminate the termites free of charge.

Florida Department of Agriculture Hotline: 888-397-1517

(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Tree termites invade Dania Beach

Posted: at 11:30 pm

Tree termites invade Dania Beach

A countywide fight has begun to help stop the spread of tree termites, which are invading parts of Dania Beach.

The tree termites eat more quickly than other termites, so they can cause a lot of property damage in a short timeframe.

On Tuesday, scientists went to Dania Beach, the only place in the U.S. where tree termites have been spotted, in the hope of stopping the growing infestation. The tiny bugs eat anything made of wood in large quantities and quickly.

Scientists tried to eradicate the tree termite in 2002, but by the looks of areas in Dania Beach with thousands of the bugs and massive nests, it is evident that it did not work. Experts said one nest has been in a shady spot for at least five or six years.

Crews searched, dug and sprayed for the critters Tuesday.

Insecticide is not the tree termite’s biggest foe; ants love to eat the insects. The ant predators have helped to prevent the tree termite population from getting completely out of control.

Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Termite-Sniffing Pooch Assists Local Exterminator

Posted: May 5, 2012 at 2:10 am

By Steve Shaw, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY — One of the mildest winters on record means termites are already a problem in Oklahoma.

Phillip Culp says he’s found a much more effective way of finding termites than exterminators normally do. A few years ago, he bought a long-haired Jack Russell Terrier named Daisy.

Daisy came from a Texas company that trains dogs.

Culp says dogs’ keen sense of smell allows them to detect the methane gas smell termites emit.He says Daisy is 90 to 95 percent accurate, whereas people are 27 to 47 percent accurate in detecting termites. And Culp says Daisy only works for food.

“I give her sometimes chicken, sometimes hotdogs, whatever works for that day. Kind of like me, she works for cheap,” Culp said.

The best thing about Daisy and all the other dogs that Texas organization trains is that they rescue all their dogs from the pound.

Daisy isn’t the only termite-hunting dog on Culp’s staff. He also has a 3-year-old border collie named Zema who is just learning the ropes as well.

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Termites swarm the Lake area

Posted: at 2:10 am

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) –

Springtime and early summer bring in swarms of termites to the Lake Charles and surrounding areas.

Local exterminators, like J&J Exterminating, received hundreds of calls on Wednesday, May 2 after swarms of termites the night before had the community buzzing.

“We’re just kind of toward the end of the native swarm and the Formosan swarm is just now kicking off and it looks like it’s going to be a pretty good one,” Robert Soileau Manager for the J&J Exterminating branch in Lake Charles said.

Soileau said there are two different types of termites in the Calcasieu Parish area: the native subterranean and the Formosan.

“The Formosan [come out] right at dusk normally and they’ll get swarming,” Soileau said. “And they’re attracted to light so a lot of people will notice them more than the natives which swarm during the day.”

Since the Formosan swarm at night, they’re attracted to light and light coming from inside a home attracts the termites to the home where they’ll try to find their way in.

“Their inside the wood or the ground and the tubes that they build to get into the structure,” Soileau said.

The termites can enter the home through vents, plumbing, bathtubs, underneath cracks in the door and windows, even the attic.

Soileau said the swarmers themselves don’t do the damage. Their only reason for being is to find a mate and start a new colony. It’s the workers in the colony that do the most damage.

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Video Friday: Robot Termites, Dust Puppies, and Serious Social Issues

Posted: at 2:10 am

Phew, we made it to another Video Friday! That “phew” is because it’s been a busy few weeks in the world of robots, and we’ve still got ICRA to look forward to in Minnesota starting in just 10 days followed directly by both ROSCon and Maker Faire.

If there have been just too many robotics events for you to keep up with, we feel your pain, and we’ve started up a Google Calendar to try and keep track of everything. We’ve literally just started it, but you can subscribe to it (the link is in the column over on the right) and as we add events, they’ll show up. Shoot us an email if you’ve got an event you’d like us to stick on there, too.

Meanwhile, on with the videos! Huzzah!

There was no way we were risking our fancy new GoPro camera on anything much deadlier than micro-rockets, but Matt Maxham stuck one on his 220-pound combat robot, Sewer Snake. Predictably, violence ensues, but you’ve never seen it from a perspective like this before.

Aila is certainly one of the, uh, curviest robots we’ve ever seen, and she’s learning how to learn how to grasp things from human demonstrations using a motion capture glove. For example, she can now pick shoes up out of a box, which would be useful except that Aila doesn’t have any feet. Oh well.

[ Aila ]

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Termites swarm through south Mississippi

Posted: May 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) –

Pest Control Specialists say termite season has come a little early this year. That means homeowners need to get a head start in making sure they’re prepared for the crawlers.

Experts say each year the bugs are responsible forfive billiondollars worth of damage to homes in the country. That’s why homeowners are racing to fix the problem.

Lately the folks at Redd Pest Solutions have been getting tons of calls. “It started two nights ago and it will continue for the next few days. People have been calling into our office, very distraught over the fact that they’re seeing termites come into their house,” pest control specialistMatt Stone said.

There’s good reason for the panic. Over the past few days there’s been an influx in Formosan termite swarmers. Aside from the fact that their arrival is about two weeks early. These little guys can do some serious damage.

“They can eat a wall up in a house in a matter offour tofive days, very destructive. You have to treat the colony. The colony is usually coming from the ground up. You have to treat where they’re coming up from the home with a good termitacide,” Stone said.

Stone says he urges homeowners take care of the problem while they still can. If an infestation is ignored, it could result in thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home and a major headache to top it all off. The good, is that there’s still hope.

“This is not out of the usual as far as them swarming. What’s unusual it that they’re a little early and the numbers are a little bit greater than normal. With our company, we’ll get to them as soon as we can. We’re getting so many calls right now because of the swarm. But we’ll get you in line and get it taken care of as soon as possible,” Stone said.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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Experts warn of damages termites can cause

Posted: at 3:10 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –

As the warm, spring temperatures continue, experts recommend some tips to help keep your home free of termites.

According to experts, the Mid-State is the prime habitat for the critters.

“It is never a question of whether or not you will get termites, but when is more the case. They are a persistent force of nature here,” explained Tennessee Department of Agriculture Pesticide Inspector Phil Hurst.

Hurst said termites, like any other creature, is just trying to survive.

“Survival sometimes, unfortunately, means destruction of our structures or at least they are feeding on it,” he said.

Hurst told Nashville’s News 2 termites primarily live underground, so swings in temperatures have little affect on the pests.

“I wouldn’t say the termite situation is going to be any worse than any other year, but it certainly accelerated it with the short or non-existent winter that we had,” he explained.

As the temperatures rise in early spring the termites will take to the air in a swarm. Hundreds of termites fly away in an attempt to find mates and start new colonies.

Due to the swarm behavior, Hurst recommends having your home inspected regularly for signs of termite infestations.

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