Full Stop 2002: Reduction in Termite Numbers Signals Success
By Amy Spillman
July 9, 2002
Operation Full Stop is
significantly reducing the number of Formosan subterranean termites in the
French Quarter of New Orleans, according to Agricultural Research Service scientists
involved in the program. This success brings the program one step closer to its
ultimate goal of shrinking the U.S. Formosan population to manageable levels.
Formosan termites were accidentally introduced into the continental United
States more than 50 years ago and now cost consumers more than $1 billion per
year in control and repair costs.
Operation Full Stop began in 1998, when 15 blocks of New Orleans' historic
French Quarter were chosen as a demonstration control area to test nonrepellent
termiticides and baits. Since 1998, ARS researchers at the Southern Regional
Research Center (SRRC) in New
Orleans and the Louisiana State University (LSU) Agricultural Center have been
trapping termite alates on sticky cardboard traps inside and outside of the
control area. Alates are the winged, reproductive form of the termite. Formosan
alates typically swarm in New Orleans from April to July.
In 2000 and 2001, 50 percent fewer alates were trapped in the treated area
than had been trapped in the same area during the previous two years, according
to Frank Guillot, ARS' Formosan Subterranean Termite National Coordinator. And
trapping results from the first half of the 2002 swarming season indicate that
the alates' numbers are continuing to decline in the treated area.
Guillot emphasizes that in areas of severe Formosan termite infestation, it
is important that all structures receive control treatments. This year,
Operation Full Stop expanded from 15 to 30 blocks in the French Quarter, and
researchers are now looking at expanding it again to include the entire
historic district. If successful, the project may serve as a model for Formosan
termite control throughout the Gulf Coast.
Operation Full Stop, sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, is a cooperative effort that includes experts
from SRRC, the LSU Agricultural Center and the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite
Control Board, among others.
ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.