A bungalow owner in Devon called pest control in 1994 to report a mysterious “white ant” chomping through her conservatory. The culprit was eventually revealed to be a colony of millions of subterranean termites, the first and only colony ever recorded on UK soil. Did you know how were termites eradicated in England?
House Termites did make it to England, but they were eradicated in 2021 by a 27-year government-funded program.
The Winning Battle Against Termites
But, in Devon, human ingenuity and British bloodthirstiness have triumphed. The Saunton termite colony has been officially declared dead by a panel of international experts after no signs of termite activity were detected for the past ten years, saving the nation from a future where homeowners must worry about termite infestations as well as wasp nests and rising damp.
However, a significant amount of money had to be raised for this, with costs totaling hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Nobody knows precisely why the termites invaded Devon.
Only one possibility remains: they could have arrived with a wine box, possibly from France – there is both wine and termites.
According to Ed Suttie, who worked on and then led the Termite Eradication Program (TEP) in England, a colony must be the size of a matchbox to be transported and survive.
They put together an international team.
What the insects can cause was known in France, Australia, and the United States: people build with wood, termites feed on wood, a nonsensical equation.
The colonies have already taken over entire housing estates. That was not supposed to happen in Devon, so Ed Suttie and his colleagues fought back, assembling an international team of experts.
We have bundled our knowledge of the termites, their habits, their behavior and their organizationEd Suttie
Extensive Monitoring Termites
The difficulty with European termites is that unlike the tropical ones you don’t just have a single colony that you can eliminate and that extinguishes the rest of the infestation, You can have a tiny reserve of termites that would be in a piece of timber deep in the ground perhaps half the size of a matchbox that would be sufficient to allow the termites to come back so the system needed to be very intensive.
The UK Termite Eradication Programme used a Scots Pine baiting system to attract termites, followed by a biocide to kill them.
Dr. Rob Verkerk, the scientific director, stated that the termites had caused “extensive damage” to two bungalows.
The difficulty with European termites is that unlike the tropical ones you don’t just have a single colony that you can eliminate and that extinguishes the rest of the infestation, You can have a tiny reserve of termites that would be in a piece of timber deep in the ground perhaps half the size of a matchbox that would be sufficient to allow the termites to come back so the system needed to be very intensiveDoctor Rob Verkerk
He said the monitoring of the termites, which would continue until 2022
probably been the most intensive anywhere in the worldDoctor Rob Verkerk
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