Eradication at last in sight for Tenerife’s termite problem

Photo: Tenerife Cabildo.

For some time parts of Tenerife have had a termite problem, and today President Pedro Martín has been able to announce that the plague is at last confined, with the creatures completely eliminated in some areas and retreating in others. Thousands of bait placements have been used to eliminate existing outbreaks and detect new ones, and these have been so effective that they will now be increased in addition to the other methods being employed.

Martín was speaking after a meeting of the technical commission which is controlling the efforts for the eradication of the insects, identified as the subterranean termite (Reticulitermes flavipes). The President explained how the authorities, already aware of the problem, were nonetheless surprised earlier this year at the speed of its dramatic expansion into a critical issue.

The main problem has been around Tacoronte in the north but Martín explained that the Cabildo had also identified a single outbreak in the Arona area. This, the President said, was now controlled and, it seemed, actually eradicated: the situation there would be followed very closely to ensure that it actually had been resolved, with bait and beacons left in strategic places to ensure that there weren’t any nasty surprises in the future.

Martín added that the termites would be entering a flying phase in November, and that the Cabildo was considering the introduction of elements from the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Higher Centre for Scientific Research) so that they could try to control possible surface expansion by means of pheromones.

To ensure the problem is really dealt with, the President said, they will maintain and increase bait placement, the whole programme requiring a significant investment of several million Euros. In November the Cabildo will have an assessment of the monies that would be involved next year, which again are expected to be substantial. Despite the expense, however, the President said that it would be even more costly not to spend money on such a problem and allow it to expand in Tenerife.  

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