Termites Crisis in Fiji

Government officials in Fiji have asked an Australian termite expert to serve as a consultant in their war on termites. An invasive species from Southeast Asia, along with nine native termite species have attacked homes and schools in Fiji.

The government has formed a task force to deal with the termite problem. The task force has identified 1,700 homes that could be at risk. Of these, more than 900 termite-infested homes have been found.

Four homes were found to be so heavily infested that the families had to move out. The homes will be treated and the damage will be repaired before the families are allowed to return. Officials think this process could take as long as a month.

The task force has already treated 195 of the 950 infested homes with a termiticide. The termiticide has been applied as a dust to treat the termites in their galleries.

The termiticide was chosen because it is not repellant to termites. The workers can travel through the termiticide without noticing it. The termites that contact the termiticide can pass it to their nest mates as they move about the colony.

The task force is also inspecting schools in the area. Out of 25 schools that have been inspected, 16 have been infested with termites.

The task force has also identified more than 2,200 trees that are infested with termites. The termites invade the trees from underground. They enter the tree through the roots and eat the central part of the tree. After termites have damaged a tree, it can blow down in a windstorm.

The task force estimates that the termite eradication will last several months. Early cost estimates were $700,000.

In the United States, termites attack thousands of homes every year. Homeowners spend millions of dollars to treat termites and to repair the damage that they cause.

Experts encourage homeowners to have their home inspected annually. Termite control professionals can recognize the signs of termite activity. These experts can also identify landscaping or structural issues that could enable termites to have easy access to the home.