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The Termite Swarms Are Back

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Formosan termites.

For the next few weeks, Formosan termites can be seen swarming around street lights, business lights — even headlights. The annual mating season is under way.

What is the deal with those flying termites?

Jerry Howard is a biology professor at the University of New Orleans, and has studied invasive species.

“We tend to see a peak of emergences in early- to mid-May," he said, "and they taper off pretty dramatically when you get into June. So by July it’s rather rare to see flights of termites any more.”  

When did this start? Howard says it’s collateral damage from World War II.

“Military bases in the South Pacific were decommissioned and a lot of their materials were shipped back to the United States. So many of the ports that received the materials, which happened to contain Formosan termite colonies, were along the Gulf Coast.”   

Will they ever just die off?

“We will be living with Formosan termites as long as there will be a Louisiana.”   

Howard advises getting a termite exterminator under contract, and turning off the porch light.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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