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Subterranean Termites found in the Shipping Container in California

Subterranean Termites

A shipping container originating from China that had made its way to Eastvale, Calif. (after docking in the San Pedro port) was fumigated Aug. 17, following the discovery of Formosan subterranean termites (FSTs).

The initial discovery was made by Matt Cromwell, technical account manager at Ecolab Pest Elimination, Los Angeles, who alerted Lee Whitmore, president of Anaheim, Calif.-based Quality Pest Services (which Ecolab subcontracts with for fumigation work). Whitmore recognized that the soldiers looked “abnormal” and that they might be FSTs. He sent photos to Dr. Chow-Yang Lee, professor at the University of California, Riverside, and Matt Fabry, business development manager at Douglas Products, manufacturer of Vikane gas fumigant.

Lee and his team, along with Cromwell, Whitmore and Fabry, visited the site on Aug. 14, and brought back samples to the UCR lab, where Lee confirmed they were Formosan subterranean termites.

The group decided fumigation was the best treatment strategy. “Because Dr. Lee did establish that they were for Formosan subterranean termites and because the container did not have any ground-to-soil contact, we knew that the colony was completely isolated to the container. And that is what made fumigation the correct treatment to eliminate the colony,” Fabry said.

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