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June 2, 2020

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City braces for annual battle as termites begin to bug locals

A WAVE of termite infestations is impending as the current humid and sultry weather provides a perfect catalyst for their proliferation, exterminators warn.

“The termite invasion started in late May and will last until around July 10,” Zhang Shengqi, director of the Xufang Greenery and Termite Control Center in Xuhui District, told Shanghai Daily.

“The extreme peak is due around the plum rain season, a period known for damp, sultry weather, as the pest favors a humid environment,” he said.

The number of pest-control requests from frightened residents now amounts to more than 10 per day, and may surge to 40 to 50 daily soon around the plum rain season, Zhang added.

The annual battle between local residents and the destructive pests started as early as March and the bugs have been spotted in huge numbers in old wooden buildings across the city.

In March, the city’s property management authorities released a list of 54 professional termite prevention and control agencies which residents can turn to for help.

Favorite habitat

Yongjia Road, Anfu Road and Huaihai Road M., which are home to large numbers of old wooden structures, are some of the worst-hit neighborhoods, according to the center.

“The area we cover has a lot of old villas featuring wood-and-brick structures and they are the favorite habitat of the pest,” said Zhang. “We also received some requests from expats who live inside these villas and asked their landlords to call us, and most callers did not know how to handle the situation.

“Some termites spotted in old houses are flying in from streetside trees, parks, gardens and greenery.”

Zhang and his colleagues recently received an assignment to take precautions against termite invasion at an old villa built in the 1930s in Hunan Road Subdistrict. “We found that the wooden beam was gnawed rotten at the villa.”

Along with their experience, exterminators also use high-tech equipment to help capture signs of termites.

They use chemicals and sprays to keep the bugs at bay. “If residents spot large numbers of flying termites at home, it means the bugs have established colonies there,” Zhang explained.

The Shanghai Greenery Management Station said it is spraying for termites on roadside trees, experimenting with chemicals and other agents to control termites, and also using technology to track their nests.

The Shanghai Housing Management Bureau has reminded residents to keep indoor areas dry via ventilation and to clean frequently. They should also remove garbage that attracts termites and avoid piling items on stairs and dark corners.

Wood and wooden items at home should be checked for infestation, and people can install screen windows as a precaution, it said.

Residents spotting termite movements at home can dial 962121 for assistance.


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