Termites start swarming in New Orleans area; Baton Rouge could be next | The Advocate

A major swarm of wood-eating termites emerged from nests across the New Orleans area Monday night, swirling around lampposts, well-lit homes and trees and kicking off what is many New Orleanians’ least favorite season.


One expert said Tuesday that Baton Rouge could soon see its heaviest infestation ever.

Monday’s muggy conditions followed a weekend of heavy New Orleans rains, which are ideal for the moisture-loving Formosan subterranean termites, widely considered to be the most destructive variety.

Formosans, native to East Asia, were introduced to the U.S. mainland in the 1940s and ’50s through crates and cargo crossing the Pacific Ocean during and after World War II.

Military ships transported them locally to Camp Leroy Johnson — now the University of New Orleans’ East Campus — and the Algiers Naval Support Activity, from where they spread rapidly.

Formosans may reach an average of 10 million per colony, while native termites’ colonies number in the hundreds of thousands.

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