The story appears on

Page A2

August 20, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Old buildings under threat from termites

TERMITES are becoming a major threat to many of Shanghai's historic buildings, experts said yesterday.

Buildings built around the 1920s had become the main targets of the insect pests, because most of them were incorporated pine wood, an ideal food for the invaders, said an engineer and termite expert surnamed Zhou from the Xufang Greenery Co.

According to Zhou, who has been battling the insects for more than 30 years, about 60 percent of the city's historic buildings has termite problems and the situation is getting worse.

Owners of old buildings called the company every day, he said, especially during the recent hot weather and the plum rain season when the wood-eating insects would take to the air.

Door frames and walls in the former residence of Ba Jin (1904-2005), one of China's greatest writers, had been eaten through, he said. The brick-built British-style country house on Wukang Road dates from the 1920s.

Other seriously-affected buildings include the Xuhui Art Museum, a European-style villa, the former Shanghai headquarters of the Kuomintang Party on Nanchang Road and the Deke Erh Art Center on Taikang Road.

Some historic residential communities, including the 77-year-old Jing'an Villa, also have termite problems. Residents there say the insects are often seen flying around the street lamps every night during the summer.

Termites have been a deep-rooted problem in the city for many years, said Fang Yuqing, deputy secretary of a working committee of the Shanghai Property Management Association.

A major reason was the lack of professional exterminators, Fang said. Some companies only killed the insects in houses and ignored public areas where the nests were usually hidden, so the termites would soon return, he said.

Zhou said many of today's termite companies failed to reach a professional standard. "They would simply spray pesticide and take out some dead bodies of the insects to show to the customers."

Zhou said the job required special skills to be able to trace the source of the infestation, but few people could do that now.

Zhao is nearing retirement age but has no apprentices. Few people are willing to take on the job.

Fang said many residents would try to deal with the problem themselves, cutting away wood that had been affected and throwing it away.

But this only helped spread the problem, Fang said.

It usually cost 300 yuan (US$46.98) to remove a nest, or about 3,000 yuan per square meter to eliminate the problem.

Fang said the city government should launch a city-wide termite elimination campaign once a year that would more effectively control the problem.

In June, swarms of termites were reported in the city's Jing'an, Hongkou and Xuhui districts. Experts said the termites were on the move in a bid to establish new colonies.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend