Termite damage costing millions

Agricultural sector plays a strategic role in the process of economic development of a country. It has already made a significant contribution to the economic prosperity of advanced countries and its role in the economic development of less developed countries is of vital importance.

Pests, considered as an age old enemy of agriculture, continue to thwart the sector by destroying the crops. Though tiny, they are capable of large scale destruction. Termites can cause agricultural damage due to their voracious appetite for cellulose and, in other parts of the world, other materials. The exact dollar amount of loss due to termite damage is unknown in the agricultural world.

Agricultural damage can occur in several ways. First, the termite can infest the crop itself and limit the yield. Second, the termite can interfere with farming infrastructure such as by destroying poles that support fencing. Third, the termite can destroy containers used to ship agricultural products.

On average the pests are known to cause 10-16% agricultural produce loss. The insects attack several agricultural and horticultural crops. It is estimated that the loss accumulated due to damage in these crops may run to several millions of rupees per year. In North America, few crops are vulnerable to termites. However, termite species in other parts of the world may infest the actual crop and cause damage. Since termites are social insects and are in a colony, termite damage is generally concentrated and not widespread in a field. Locusts, for example, are not social and have no colonies, so when they attack a field it is in a quick and somewhat chaotic manner. Termites do not attack fields in such a manner. They have been known to attack paper products including record keeping so the agribusiness is negatively affected. Packaging material has a long history of attack by termites.

Let us look at some news articles:

Pest threatens crops on Hudson Valley farms

May 23, 2017, News 12 Hudson Valley

The crop-eating allium leaf miner is from Europe. Experts say the bug, which thrives on vegetables like onions, garlic, and leeks, was first found in the U.S. two years ago in Pennsylvania. Since then, it’s infested the Northeast destroying crops. It’s also made its way to the Hudson Valley.

“First I’ve seen it in my fields ever was a few weeks ago. I thought it was a mini-termite,” says fourth generation black dirt onion farmer Chris Pavelski, of Pine Island.

Ethan Grundbert, of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, says if the population continues to build like it has in Pennsylvania, it could be a serious issue Hudson Valley farmers are faced with the next few years.

News 12 has learned that the bugs die off in the summer months but reappear in the fall.

Currently, pesticides are still being tested.

A village plundered by termites and orphaned by the state government

Feb 19, 2017, Hindustan times

Farming and cattle rearing are their source of income. “Every family has at least two cattle. Their survival is a daily struggle. Every year, we spend Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 in buying grass,” former pradhan Padam Singh says.

So, what ails Lambari? An RTI application filed by Hindustan Times to the district magistrate’s office shows that in 1994, 1998 and 2009, work plans to control termites were formulated by district officials. However, the higher administration refused funds for the plans.

The agriculture department accepts that insecticides it provides to villagers have only been able to reduce termites in agricultural fields and have no effect on termites inside the buildings.

75% of the agricultural area was under termite attack. A work plan costing Rs 4.7 lakh was prepared. But funds were not granted. “Common pesticides become ineffective in Lambari because the population of termites is significantly high,” former vice-chancellor GBPUAT Prof BS Bisht, who commissioned the 2009 team, says.

Department of Agriculture issues ‘Stop Work Order’ against Sunland Pest Control

Sep 4, 2015, 25 WPBF

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have issued a Stop Work Order prohibiting Sunland Pest Control from conducting any fumigation at this time. This comes after a Palm City boy suffered brain damage after termite fumigation at his Palm City Home. “We are aware of the tragic and heartbreaking incident involving Peyton, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is investigating Sunland Pest Control in collaboration with the EPA and the Department of Health,” the department said in a statement late Friday afternoon.

Peyton McCaughey turned 10 Thursday at Miami Children’s Hospital, barely able to turn his head, unable to stand up or talk. His family said the boy has suffered brain damage after termite fumigation on their house.

C Tech Corporation, an Indian company has come up with an impeccable solution to counteract problems caused by such insect. Termirepel ™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous termite/insect repellent which has been designed for various polymeric applications as well as natural materials like woods. It is a unique blend of green chemistry and smart technology which acts as an effective repellent and at the same time guarantees safety to the environment, plants, animals and fragile ecosystem.

Termirepel does not kill but only keeps the ants away by making use of their sensory mechanisms. Aggressive species are further deterred from attacking by advanced mechanisms like aversion, feeding disruption, temporary mating disruption, reproduction cycle inhibition, growth impairment and chemo sterilization. This further modifies the response of insects towards the Termirepel containing products which make them to stay away from the application.