Disaster Boon For Termites?
September 2, 2005 10:32 AM   Subscribe

The Formosan Termites apparently like moist, hot conditions. Does anybody know if the waterlogged conditions in New Orleans will lead to an explosion in their numbers?

Does the fact that their swarming occurs in spring limit the termite fallout? Could this disaster lead to even greater damage to the French Quarter buildings that seem to have largely escaped inundation? I can't imagine that termite mitigation procedures will be resumed for quite a while...
posted by meehawl to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There was an article, called The Swarm, about the NO termite problem in last month's Harper's. It, obviously, doesn't answer this question, but it does have a lot of information.
posted by OmieWise at 11:04 AM on September 2, 2005

Termites live underground, they do not live under water. As the ground is now saturated to the point that New Orleans is a lake bed, I would say that the termite population is not having a very fun time right now.

Rats on the other hand can climb.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:20 AM on September 2, 2005

West Nile is a concern because the standing water can serve as a breeding ground.
posted by jasper411 at 11:33 AM on September 2, 2005

These termites can only (or, live amazingly up to, depending on your perspective) live for 11 hours underwater. Wood housing becomes uninhabitable after three or four days, so a lot of NO will have to be rebuilt, most certainly with heavy metal and other compounds within the wood to prevent reinfestation. What this will mean to the French Quarter specifically will be hard to tell, but if termites have fewer places to feed they will be theoretically easier to find and kill.
posted by geoff. at 11:37 AM on September 2, 2005

I had read somewhere in recent days that New Orleans has already been suffering termite destruction, even before the hurricane. I don't know if all that water makes the termite problem worse or better, or if it even matters. Who cares if termites eat rubble?
posted by clh at 12:35 PM on September 2, 2005

You'd care if they ate rubble because they'd have a great and extensive breeding ground while you put up the new and shiny food for them, just as you care if the vacant house next to you harbors rats: they rarely cooperate and stay away.
posted by phearlez at 1:07 PM on September 2, 2005

Termites live underground.

For the record, dry-wood termites are quite happy to live in dry wood, with no contact to the ground.
posted by SPrintF at 9:37 PM on September 2, 2005

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