- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Long seen as a New Orleans problem, Formosan termites have become a new reality in Baton Rouge.

A long-time termite researcher at the LSU Agricultural Center says increasing numbers of the insect are now being found in Louisiana’s capital city.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/29G01Tn) Gregg Henderson, who has documented the Formosan termite infestation through trap counts in New Orleans from 1989 through 2008, started looking for them closer to home in 2009.

In May and June of that year, the total number of winged Formosan termites caught in light traps numbered just under 300.

By 2014, the May and June counts from all the traps numbered 8,345. While a significant increase in Baton Rouge, those numbers are still considerably less than in New Orleans where, on average, there were 21,000 per trap in 2005 and 6,855 average per trap in 2008.

“It just grows and grows,” Henderson said. “People are seeing more and getting more concerned.”

The Formosan termite were first discovered in Louisiana in 1965 and found to be much more aggressive than the native species of termite. Researchers found that a mature colony can have more than 10 million individuals, larger than the colony of native termites. The Formosan termite were brought to military ports of Lake Charles in New Orleans after World War II, but it took 20 years for the colonies to mature before being identified, Henderson said.

In Baton Rouge, May numbers of the winged version of the termite - known as alates - captured in traps grew from 3,467 in 2015 to 7,288 in 2016, Henderson said.

Although the problem is continuing to grow in Baton Rouge, Henderson said he doesn’t expect it to rise to the level battled in New Orleans mainly because there are differences in the types of construction, soil types, subsidence and a number of other factors.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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