Experts warn of seasonal termite threat

Hu Min
Plum rains will bring warm, wet weather as well as an upsurge in pests that thrive in such conditions.
Hu Min

Local pest control experts are warning of termite infestations as the region heads into plum rain season, a period known for damp, sultry weather.

“Old wooden houses are the favorite hunting ground of hungry mites,” said an exterminator surnamed Liu with the Nanfang Greenery and Termite Control Service Center in Huangpu District.

April was another peak season for pests which thrive on warm weather, according to Liu, who added that “the invasions will return soon ... huge numbers of termites will be flying around during the plum rain season.”

The Xufang Greenery and Termite Control Center in Xuhui District said it has received more than 120 pest-control requests from residents since mid May. This is down from the 200 requests it received during the same period last year, but experts warn of impending infestation.

“We saw an outbreak of termites around May 17, but it’s been slightly easier this year ...” said Zhang Shengqi, deputy director of the Xuhui center. “The peak is yet to come.”

Zhang said proper disposal of tree branches and construction waste could tamp down on termite outbreaks.

Good ventilation and regular cleaning are also crucial to avoiding infestations in old brick and wood houses, he added.

If people suspect their house is attracting termites, they should call exterminators, explained Zhang. Residents should avoid moving or destroying termite nests themselves; and leave this for professionals.

Authorities are also taking measures to minimize termite invasions.

“We are working with subdistricts where termites are very active such as Hunan Subdistrict in Xuhui District and Ruijin Subdistrict in Huangpu District, and Jing’an District — some of the worst hit areas — to implement these measures,” said Zhu Chungang, an expert with the Shanghai Greenery Management Station, affiliated to the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau. Zhu explained that the station is spraying for termites on road-side trees, experimenting with drugs and other agents to control termites, and also using technology to track their nests.

“The number of termite invasion complaints and incidences in the worst areas has been dropping year on year, proving the effectiveness of our measures,” he said.

Zhu said that termite invasions would drop in September with the onset of colder weather.

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