Friday, November 28, 2003

Got the Munchies?

Science News is reporting that populations of the Formosan Subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) have hunkered down in New Orleans' French Quarter, where they are making meals of anything made of wood, from houses to living trees. As a consequence, there's a fair amount of research going on in the area, studying termite behavior and trying to find ways to limit the spread of this species, which was introduced from Asia several decades ago. One such effort is Operation Full Stop, a federal program that supports local-level eradication of the insects, which currently cost the US $1 billion per year (though note that native termites cost us $10 billion annually). This is an excellent article with lots of information and even photos of the termites - well worth the read.

Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting a link to this story.

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