Navigation Links
Did termites help Katrina destroy New Orleans floodwalls?
Date:10/14/2008

Lanham, MD; October 14, 2008Three years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, people still speculate over causes of the destruction of the city's floodwall system. A new article in the fall issue of American Entomologist (Vol. 54, No. 3) suggests that Formosan subterranean termites played a large role.

Author Gregg Henderson, a professor at the Louisiana State University AgCenter, discovered Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki) in the floodwall seams in August, 2000 five years before Katrina struck and noticed that the seams were made of waste residue from processed sugarcane. Known as bagasse, this waste residue is attractive to Formosan termites.

After the dikes were breached in 2005, Henderson and his colleague Alan Morgan inspected 100 seams for evidence of termites, including three areas where major breaks in the walls had occurred. 70% of the seams in the London Avenue Canal, which experienced two major breaks during Katrina, showed evidence of insect attack, as did 27% of seams inspected in the walls of the 17th Street Canal.

The Formosan subterranean termite originates from China, where it has been known to damage levees since the 1950s. Besides eating at bagasse seams, the termites may have contributed to the destruction of the levees of New Orleans by digging networks of tunnels, which can cause "piping," sending water through the tunnels and undermining the levee system.

"I believe that the termites pose a continuing danger that requires immediate attention," Henderson writes. "The fact that termites cause piping in levees must be accepted."

The author further suggests that New Orleans' 350 miles of levees and floodwalls should be surveyed for termite damage, and that treatment of the floodwalls and nearby trees may be necessary to avoid future disasters. Henderson will demonstrate one survey method using ground-penetrating radar at the ESA Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada, November 16-19 (see http://www.entsoc.org/am/cm/index.htm).


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Levine
rlevine@entsoc.org
301-731-4535
Entomological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Soil, conservation experts to reflect on Hurricane Katrina disaster
2. Opportunity for students displaced by Katrina to assess climate vulnerability of Southeast US
3. Researchers develop nano-sized cargo ships to target and destroy tumors
4. Commercialization aim of grant supporting technology that destroys cancer cells
5. Researchers find way to make tumor cells easier to destroy
6. Using carbon nanotubes to seek and destroy anthrax toxin and other harmful proteins
7. Fine-tuning lasers to destroy blood-borne diseases like AIDS
8. Humans fostering forest-destroying disease
9. Presidents of Iceland, Bangladesh to discuss global climate change in New Orleans
10. CAST rolls out biofuel commentaries in New Orleans
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, ... on developing health and wellness apps that provide a ... Genome is the first hackathon for personal genomics ... companies in the genomics, tech and health industries are ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company that ... North America , today announced a Series B ... of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s ... to transform population health activities through the collection and ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative ... ... Maldives Immigration ... Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 ... ... management, technological innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences and ... BoxWorks conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ARCS® Foundation ... Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of ... Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... genomic technologies, launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, featuring the first ... accompanying cloud-based bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using their own ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October 05, 2017 , ... ... engineers, and scientists from around the world, is giving back to cancer research with ... in October. , Now through October 31, shoppers can use promo code PinkRibbon ...
Breaking Biology Technology: