Be Alert, Termites Swarming Season Has Begun

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BAF’s acting chief executive officer, Surend Pratap, said during this time the AST will fly away from the parent colonies to breed and establish new colonies of their own.

The Fiji Biosecurity Agency (BAF) advises Fijians who live in and around the two infested districts of Labasa and Lautoka to take precautions as the Asian underground termite (AST) swarming season has begun.

The swarming season in Fiji runs from September to November.

BAF’s acting chief executive officer, Surend Pratap, said during this time the AST will fly away from the parent colonies to breed and establish new colonies of their own.

He said Lautoka and Labasa residents should take precautions during this time of year as more AST than usual may be visible.

In the Northern Division, these termites can be found in areas of Labasa including: Vunivau, Balebasoga, Boca, Bulileka, Malau, Soasoa, Vunika, and Batinikama.

“It is advisable for all affected Fijians during the swarming period to turn off all lights in and around their home at dusk or in the early evening,” said Pratap.

“Termite swarmers are attracted to light while they are in flight and when the lights are left on; then your new home could unfortunately be your home. “

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji acting Chief Executive Officer Surend Pratap in his office in Suva on September 10, 2021.

To advise:

Fijians are asked:

  • Close all windows and doors from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • If you suspect or see swarming in the area, light small fires in a controlled area outside of your homes so the termites can be attracted and burned in the fire.
  • Termites are attracted to light; Humans should use minimal lighting in homes during swarming periods.
  • People must be careful not to receive any host materials (soil, wood materials, firewood, potted plants, long-term stored paper and clothing materials from known AST-affected regions in Fiji).

What happens during the swarming season?

Mr Pratap explained that swarming termites (or alates) venturing out of a nest in a house or in soil colonies will attempt to squeeze through cracks and crevices in the walls and foundation to get outside for the first time .

Since swarming termites are attracted to light, they can often be found on their flights near windows or lights.

Termites only swarm after a certain age of the colony, size and weather conditions are conducive or optimal for the flight.

The swarm of termites around your house indicates that there are active colonies nearby.

Mr Pratap said BAF is continuously raising awareness of the AST issue and supporting those affected in containment efforts.

Function codes for AST

Stakeholders can contact BAF on the following short codes regarding AST:

5993 – Labasa – Northern Region

5996 – Lautoka – Western region

Email: info@baf.com.fj

Edited by Losirene Lacanivalu

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj