Pest Alert: Rumors
of termite infested mulch from LA are untrue (March
Rumors have been circulating the internet that mulch
from Louisiana infested with Formosan subterranean
termites is being shipped to major home improvement
centers across the country. These rumors are NOT true.
Louisiana has a quarantine in place to prevent the
spread of termites via mulch and other wood materials
from infested parishes affected by hurricane Katrina.
The Formosan subterranean termites were introduced
to Louisiana on military ships returning from the
Pacific Islands after World War II. The termites have
established in 11 states since that time: Alabama,
California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi,
North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
You can visit the National Formosan Subterranean Termite
Program at http://ars.usda.gov/is/br/fullstop/index.html
for more information on these insects.
This press release was issued by the Louisiana Department
of Agriculture and Forestry.
Mulch Rumors Untrue
March 3, 2006
Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
That is the message Commissioner of Agriculture and
Forestry Bob Odom is stressing to the public as an
email rumor about Formosan termite-infested mulch
is circling the globe.
The email warns consumers not to purchase “cheap”
wood mulch at major home improvement chains because
it may be infested with Formosan termites.
“The email is not accurate and doesn’t
even mention the quarantines this department put in
place last fall to keep Formosan termites from spreading,”
Odom said. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture
and Forestry issued quarantines following the hurricanes
for woody debris in Cameron, Calcasieu, Jefferson,
Jefferson Davis, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard,
St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and
Washington parishes. Woody debris cannot be moved
out of these areas without first submitting a plan
for treatment to the department.
“I’ve had my people out looking into these
claims to make sure there are no violations of the
quarantine. I’ve also had our invasive pest
expert contact the stores mentioned in the email and
we’ve yet to find any validity to the claims
in the email,” Odom said.
“In my opinion, someone is using the Internet
to cause hysteria about a problem that doesn’t
really exist. If there are people out there who know
about someone violating the quarantines, then they
need to report it to us. We’ll shut the culprits
down real quick but it has to be reported,”
Odom said. “I think the quarantines are doing
the job, though. We’ve worked with the debris
contractors, the Corps of Engineers and FEMA to handle
the debris and quarantines.”
An official with the LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative
Extension Service said their offices have been receiving
calls non-stop about information contained in the
“Our termite specialists are getting inundated
with calls and e-mails,” said Dr. Paul Coreil,
LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana
Cooperative Extension Service. “We have posted
new information on our Web site. We hope people will
continue to use this as a resource for accurate information.”
To report a quarantine violation, call (225) 925-3763.
The Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s
Web site, www.ldaf.state.la.us,
and the LSU AgCenter’s Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com,
contain information about the quarantines, Formosan
termites and debris disposal
The pest alert is from the Massachusetts Introduced
Pests Outreach Project, a collaborative project between
the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape
Program aimed at preventing the establishment of new
pathogens and pests in Massachusetts. Visit the project
for more information on emerging pests or to subscribe
and unsubscribe for pest alerts.