Hurricane mess offers termite heaven
More bad pest-related news in the areas hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. There's a "super termite" that is prevalent in both New Orleans and Lake Charles, Louisiana, and not even a hurricane can wipe it out:
Known as "super termites," the insects can hold their breath for up to 16 hours underwater, they're good at finding tiny air pockets in the soil to breathe once grounds are soaked and they can retreat to aboveground portions of their elaborate nests to wait out a storm.
"We have found dead termites, so it appears many have drowned," said Gregg Henderson, an entomologist and termite guru at Louisiana State University, who dug up previously buried test crates packed with old wood last week in New Orleans to see how the insect's numbers were looking. "But there are also thousands of survivors and they will thrive."
Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the region, Henderson explains, the area has become termite heaven — a virtual termite buffet — packed with moist debris, including soaked homes and downed trees. This material provides the insect with its main food: cellulose.
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