Georgia is home to at least nine termite species that have been documented, six of which maintain a habitat on the coast and barrier islands. Three termite species in the state are invasive. These species include the Formosan subterranean termite, the west Indian drywood termite (also known as the powderpost termite), and the western drywood termite, which is native to the western United States. However, just a bit farther north in Massachusetts, only one native termite species can be found. This comparison can help to give those who do not live in Georgia an understanding of how tremendously damaging termite pests are in the state. The subtropical climate in the state makes termites a year-round issue for property owners in Georgia. Owners of apartment complexes can potentially lose millions as a result of termite infestations occuring on their rental properties. As it happens, Georgia taxpayers often end up paying the bill for much of the termite damage inflicted upon structures in the state. For example, telephone poles, historically notable structures and even underground cables often sustain termite damage, which makes the insects far more economically significant than some people realize. Another example from back in 2003 saw a federal housing complex in Springfield sustain expensive termite damage after the destructive bugs established an extensive infestation within the building.
An elderly resident, Gladys Tolbert, of the federal housing complex Spring Hollow Apartments was likely living in the apartment unit that saw the greatest degree of termite pest activity. At the time, Tolbert’s kitchen was covered in thousands of dead termites, indicating that a far greater number were active behind her walls and beneath her floorboards. The termites could be seen crawling onto her floor from beneath her refrigerator, and the destructive creatures also flooded out of little holes in her plaster walls at a near constant rate. The termites were also present within her bedding, as well as within her clothing, forcing the woman to literally sleep in a pile of both living and dead termite bodies. The apartment manager claimed that the Rural Development Department had been planning on funding a major termite control operation within the building. This operation consisted of a pest controller drilling holes into the apartment walls so that a foam-insecticide could be injected. Bait-traps were also used, but it took weeks to fully eradicate the widespread infestation.
Have you ever found bugs crawling out of openings within the walls in your home?