Annual termite terror returns

The perennial battle between termites and residents is on again as the bugs return to the city due to the warm, humid weather.

The annual battle between termites and residents is on again as the bugs return to the city due to the warm, humid weather.

As a result, exterminators are rushing from home to home invaded by the annoying pests.

"The weather last week and this has created perfect conditions for their proliferation," said Zhang Yong, an exterminator with Shanghai Xufang Greenery Co in Xuhui District, which specializes in termites.

Xufang is receiving about 40 calls daily from scared residents.

"The termite outbreak usually happens around May 15. This year it was May 19, two days later than last year," said Zhang.

Old wooden houses are the favorite haunt of the creatures, and Yongjia Road, Jianguo Road and Huaihai Road M., home to large numbers of old wooden structures, are some of the worst-hit areas.

"The termite season will last till early July with the extreme peak around June 10, coupled with the plum rain season featuring rainy, sultry weather," he said.

In some cases, termite nests were found, home to tens of thousands of the insects, said Zhang. Even if only 10 to 15 percent fly out, most residents are still frightened.

Nanfang Greenery and Termite Control Service Center in Huangpu District, also home to a large number of old wooden houses, is also inundated with calls for help.

"Phone calls keep coming in and we sometimes have to skip lunch to meet the demand," said Yang, another exterminator.

"We suggest residents contact professionals when they spot termites at home instead of using insecticides themselves because they don't know how to handle them," he said.

Pesticides were not the solution because termites then flew around everywhere and made new nests, he said.

Good ventilation, a dry environment and regular cleaning are important to avoid infestations, according to Shanghai Property Management Affairs Center.

People should avoid piling items on the floor or in dark corners and check wood and wooden products carefully. They can also install screen windows as a precaution, the center said.

Authorities are also taking measures to curb the invasion.

These include spraying roadside trees, experimenting with new agents to kill the termites and using technology to find their nests, said the Shanghai Greenery Management Station.

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