Formosan subterranean termites and mulch from Louisiana following hurricanes Katrina and Rita

To: Forestry and Natural Resource Community

From: Dennis R. Ring

Please see the LSU AgCenter web site.

A question has arisen about Formosan subterranean termites being moved in mulch from New Orleans and Louisiana following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It is true that there is a lot of cellulose debris (wood, paper and their products) in Louisiana following these two hurricanes.
Something has to be done with this debris. Yes, Formosan subterranean termites are found in the parishes affected by the hurricanes and will get in mulch. They also eat the centers of live trees. See the LSU AgCenter Web site for information on the biology and ecology of this insect. However, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
(LDAF) 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 parishes affected by the hurricanes).

Thus, efforts are in place to prevent the spread of the Formosan subterranean termite in mulch or other materials. Additionally, the insect may be managed using integrated pest management.

Provisions of the quarantine imposed by the LDAF include:
* 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.
* Temporary housing cannot be moved from the named parishes until written authorization is given by the commissioner or his designee(s).
* 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.
* 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The quarantine is in effect until it is rescinded by the commissioner of agriculture.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.

Related links:
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
LSU AgCenter - termites Termites/formosan_termites/
Keep Formosan Termites From Spreading After Hurricanes 2AA2/18092/termiteFactsheet1.pdf

Contact: Dennis Ring at (225) 578-4615, or or Alan Morgan at (225) 578-2368, or

Dennis Ring
Entomologist, Professor, Extension Specialist
404 Life Sciences Building
Department of Entomology
LSU AgCenter
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
225-578-2180, Fax 225-578-2257