Louisiana Termite/Mulch Rumors Untrue

(edited press release)

An e-mail warning the public about Formosan termite-infested mulch from southern Louisiana has been circulating online this week. Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF) officials are stressing to the public that the e-mail is false and that quarantine measures enacted last fall have kept woody debris from leaving the area. 

The e-mail warns consumers not to purchase "cheap" wood mulch at major home improvement chains because it might be infested with Formosan termites. Louisiana State University Ag Center's Cooperative Extension Service and LDAF officials have been receiving non-stop phone calls about the message.

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, LDA issued quarantines for woody debris in Cameron, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes. Individuals cannot move woody debris out of these areas without first submitting a treatment plan to the department.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom said, "I've had my people out looking into these claims to make sure there are no violations of the quarantine. I've also had our invasive pest expert contact the stores mentioned in the e-mail, and we've yet to find any validity to the claims in the email.

"If there are people out there who know about someone violating the quarantines, then they need to report it to us," Odom added. "I think the quarantines are doing the job, though. We've worked with the debris contractors, the Corps of Engineers, and FEMA to handle the debris and quarantines."

Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, said, "We have posted new information on our web site (www.lsuagcenter.com). We hope people will continue to use this as a resource for accurate information."

To report a quarantine violation, call 225/925-3763. For more information see the LDAF web site, www.ldaf.state.la.us, and the LSU AgCenter's web site, www.lsuagcenter.com, which contain information about the quarantines, Formosan termites, and debris disposal.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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