FORMOSAN TERMITE RESOLUTION
I said I'd keep looking for information. Well, it came to me today in the form of a mass mailing from Terry Yockey, a Master Gardener in Minnesota! Jeff Hahn, Dept. of Entomology, Univ. of Minn. asked her to pass the information along. Here is a quote directly from that letter.
"...Although they are a type of subterranean termite, it is relatively common for these termites to produce aerial colonies and to infest damaged trees. In one instance, they have been transported accidentally in mulch. However, after that much of what is said is exaggerated and unnecessarily alarmist.In conversations I have had with colleagues, it is recognized that no one knows for sure what would happen to termites in a tree that was chipped or mulched. However, it is universally agreed that it is highly unlikely that they would survive the process. Another factor is that termites do not survive well in mulch. Consider that as the internal temperature of a pile mulch increases, it can reach lethal temperatures that would kill termites as well as other insects. Also, Formosan termites are not tolerant of cold temperatures. They are not known to infest areas further north than 35o N latitude. Minnesota should be well beyond their reach.Another mitigating factor is that Louisiana imposed a quarantine in several hurricane-damaged parishes. The quarantine specifically addresses the concern about Formosan termite-infested wood products being shipped to new areas. According to Dr. Gregg Henderson, research entomologist and termite expert from LSU, all yard debris and dead trees are being burned or shipped to a large local landfill near New Orleans. It seems unlikely that a major home improvement store like a WalMart or Lowe's would come into possession of such mulch as it would have to purchase it illegally.In summary, it isn't impossible that Formosan termites could be accidently transported in mulch to Minnesota but it is very unlikelyIf you are interested in reading further information on this, check out these sources. The first is a Snopes article found here. Mike Merchant, an urban entomologist at Texas A wrote the following article ...."
So, what that seems to indicate is that we have little to fear from the Formosan Termite. Now we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief!