Banknotes eaten by termites (Photo: Reuters, Editor: Gadi Weinstock, Narration: Liron Be'eri)
The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Petah Tikva Municipality announced today (Tuesday) the beginning of the "bridal flights" of the Formosan termite in the city and its east. The ministry emphasized that this termite is considered an invasive species and harmful to wood and wood products, but does not harm humans, and does not sting or transmit diseases. With the exception of Petah Tikva, in recent days the Formosan termite has already been observed in Givat Hashlosha, Kfar Sirkin, Nahalim, Nofach, Mazor and Rinthia.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection added that it had developed a strategic plan to deal with the termite invasion. According to her, in the first stage, the ministry will budget NIS 1.7 million for monitoring trees using a special sensor system. After that, a pest control operation using insect growth inhibitor baits is planned.
The pomorsonian termite (Photo: official website, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Gal Zagron)
The Ministry of Environmental Protection also said that in order to carry out pest control activities aimed at eradicating the Formosan termite in Israel, it is very important to identify the termite and locate it in other places in Israel. Therefore, the ministry urged anyone who believes they have seen the termite to report its presence by email or via an online form.
Identification marks of the winged termite: about 4 cm long, light brown color, straight antennae, wings equal in length and much longer than the abdomen, no stenosis (hawk) between the chest and abdomen.
The "bridal fly" is a stage in termite reproduction in which many adult individuals go on flight at once in order to mate and establish new colonies. The termites embark on a mass bridal flight from late May to July and occurs from sunset for about half an hour to an hour. During the wedding flight, it is recommended to close nets and turn off lighting that draws them into the house.
Formosi termite (photo: official website, from Wikipedia)
Winged termites do not survive long in the open air and will usually be eaten within a few minutes. Those who enter through the window will usually die without establishing a new nest, so spraying against them is not recommended.
Formosi termites, considered the most harmful species in the world, were already identified in Israel in 2020, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection established an expert committee to invent a pest control method and guide the authorities on the subject. However, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel believed that measures should have been taken with regard to termites years ago. Already in 2016, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel submitted to the Ministry a document listing ten invasive species that may penetrate Israel, one of which is the Formosi super termite.
Alon Rothschild, Director of Biodiversity at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, said: "At the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, we emphasize that the only effective, and also the cheapest, way to prevent damage caused by invasive species to humans and nature is to prevent their entry into Israel. Already in 2017, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel advanced a comprehensive bill on the subject, but the Ministry of Environmental Protection has not yet acted to promote preventive legislation, leaving Israeli nature, agriculture and health, vulnerable to pest entrenchment. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel will be happy to assist in any way possible to promote this legislation."
Formosani termite (Photo: official website, Head of Nature and Gardens, Yarin Tytler)
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The Petah Tikva Municipality asked residents who have located an exit place for winged termites to report this to the municipal hotline at 106 or WhatsApp at 050-7707435 and to the Ministry of Environmental Protection by email: .firstname.lastname@example.org
The town added that pest control on private property is the responsibility of the property owners and noted that in case of suspected damage to wooden furniture, lintels and wooden products inside the house, an exterminator with an advanced license (exterminator in buildings and open areas or evaporative exterminator) must be ordered from the Ministry of Environmental Protection. They also warned that products contaminated with the Formosan termite should not be removed from the house without coordination with the municipality. If there are products contaminated or suspected of being infected with the Formosan termite, contact the municipal hotline 106 for instructions and evacuation coordination.
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