MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Entomology Department at Kansas State University is experiencing a big bug problem- and it has nothing to do with the bugs that are being used for research and educational purposes.
Swarms of termites have infested Waters Hall, interfering with the work being done in the historic building, which houses the Entomology Department.
"For the last two years, they’ve had six termite swarms in this building. It’s high termite pressure. The termite situation has been going on here, they’ve told us, for more than 100 years," said Travis Aggson, entomologist and Vice President of American Pest Management, Inc.
In order to protect the research insects inside Waters Hall, the university needed to take a unique approach. A liquid chemical termiticide could not be used in this case.
"It’s a sensitive building with all of the research going on with other insects inside so it’s very delicate on what can be used around and inside this building," Aggson said.
K-State has turned to American Pest Management, Inc. and Dow AgroSciences to install an environmentally- friendly system called Sentricon to eliminate the problem.
It uses special in-ground baiting stations to create a protective ring around the building.
"What you are going to see around the building are Sentricon stations with always-active bait placed around every 10 feet around the structure and then we’re going to inside and put in above ground stations where we can introduce the bait directly to the termite colony," said Zach Morehead, sales representative with Dow AgroSciences.
"Termites are random, continuous foragers. They’re always looking for a new source of food so we’re placing bait stations around the exterior of the building. They will work with the foraging behavior of the termites. The termites will forage up to the Sentricon stations, they’ll start feeding on the bait, they’ll take the bait back to the colony and eliminate the colony in a process that works with their natural biology," Aggson explained.
Once the termites feed on the bait, the adult worker termites pass it around to others termites in the colony for 60-90 days before dying. On average, it takes between 3-6 months to eliminate a colony.
"It’s green in nature and it is not harmful to anything other than a termite. It’s selective to termites and termites only. It’s not going to harm the other insects inside the building," Morehead told 13 News.
Crews will be monitoring the problem for two years, checking the system every three months for progress.
"We don’t have to drill any holes into the concrete, we don’t have to tear any walls apart, we don’t have to inject thousands of gallons of pesticide into the ground. It’s a very effective way of treating for termites that’s good for the environment," Aggson added. "We’re going to eliminate the termites that are in the building now and then the stations on the outside will monitor for any new activity coming in. We’ll be able to pick up new colonies before they attack the building in the future."
Officials handling the problem on K-State's campus say termites cause more than $5 billion worth of damage each year in the United States- damage that is not covered by homeowner's insurance.
Sentricon can be used in any residential or commercial settings. Homeowners and business owners must work with certified Sentricon specialists to purchase the system. Authorized professionals located in your area can be found on Sentricon's website: http://www.sentricon.com/.