The Environmental Protection Ministry said Wednesday it has caught several Formosan super-termites, eight months after deploying traps all over Petah Tikva, where the invasive species was first discovered in Israel.
The Formosan super-termite, which originates in southern China and Taiwan, is a highly destructive species mainly due to the fact that a single queen can lay 3,000 eggs per day, the consequent enormous size of its colonies and the rapid rate at which the termites consume wood.
According to the ministry, the only way to eradicate the fast-multiplying species is by feeding the captured termites with growth inhibitors that would eventually spread among the nest upon their return.
This super-termite is also known for its ability to penetrate plastic, rubber, concrete and soft metals. It also damages water pipes, underground electricity and telecom infrastructure.
In China, the species has damaged thousands of flood protection barriers, which in turn caused flooding in several parts of the country. All over the world the species has caused damage worth tens of billions of dollars a year.
The super-termites also have an adverse effect on several species of flora, including citrus, oak, eucalyptus and various conifers.
Their rapid feeding weakens the trees from the inside, which in turn can cause them to collapse during strong winds. It can also outright kill them if the termites reach and feed on the tree’s roots.
The termites’ nuptial flight, during which thousands of the insects spread their wings and fly in order to mate and start new colonies, is set to take place in the coming days. The Environmental Protection Ministry calls on the public to report any sightings of the termites, in order to prevent any long term damages to both property and flora.
Dr. Gal Zagron, head of Pest Control and Management at the Environmental Protection Ministry, said: “The termite's nuptial flight is a once a year opportunity to watch the termites emerge from their nest and fly through the air.
“Because this is a new invasive species, it is important to locate all the places where there are colonies of the termite in order to try and prevent its spread and establishment throughout the country."
Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said: “Early detection of the termites will prevent and reduce serious problems in the future, and therefore we are appealing to the public and exterminators to report any suspicions of the presence of the termite.”