A new way to treat invasive termites – The Bay’s News First – SunLive

Posted: June 17, 2022 at 2:02 am

Biosecurity New Zealand has successfully trialled a new method of treating invasive termites on an imported yacht.

Non-native termites and other wood-boring insects are occasionally found on recreational vessels on arrival from overseas.

Until now, they have been treated by gassing the vessel with a fumigant such as methyl bromide to kill the insects.

Biosecurity New Zealands director of readiness and response, John Walsh, says the recent successful use of heat treatment is a significant achievement and represents a milestone in the use of non-fumigant solutions to treat pests.

"Being able to treat a vessel at berth is quick and convenient. It also supportsour drive to use environmentally sustainable treatment options and reduce theuse of chemicals and fumigants where possible."

Recreational vessels coming into New Zealand need a full biosecurity clearance to ensure pests dont become established here and potentially damage our environment, health, or economy.

The yacht in this trial was found to have an infestation of the West Indian drywood termite,Cryptotermes brevis, which meant treatment was required to prevent this invasive pest from escaping and establishing here.

Internationally, Cryptotermes brevisis regarded as one of the most damaging drywood termites. It feeds on dry wood and poses a significant threat to untreated timber framed homes and items made of timber.

Mr Walsh says the new treatment involves circulating air throughout the sealed vessel at a constant temperature of 55C for a minimum of 5 hours with close monitoring.

"Subsequent testing confirmed the treatment killed all termites present. Post treatment sample analysis by Biosecurity New Zealands Plant Health and Environment Laboratory has confirmed the effectiveness of the treatment.

"Our team is now monitoring the yacht, but we are confident this is a step in the right direction for New Zealands biosecurity, supporting our environment and biodiversity efforts," Mr Walsh says.

"We will be exploring other uses for this method across our biosecurity system."

More information about yacht hitchhikers Fact sheet [PDF, 849 KB]

A new way to treat invasive termites - The Bay's News First - SunLive

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