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:4/11/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... offering. ... market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period ... has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs ... growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... 6, 2017 Forecasts by Product ... Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & Public ... & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business ... Are you looking for a definitive report on ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS The ... at a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period ... primary factor for the growth of the stem cell ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market ... and geography. The stem cell market of the product ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... 15, 2017 , ... Kenall, a leader in sealed solid-state ... tightly sealed and perform efficiently for years. The downlights are ideal for a ... enough, such as: hospitals; behavioral health facilities; cleanrooms; containment areas; food and pharmaceutical ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Coffea ... various biotic and abiotic factors. During this educational webinar, participants will learn about ... well as gain a better understanding of how genomics is important for coffee ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... Ca (PRWEB) , ... August 14, 2017 , ... ... poorly characterized and performing antibodies. Key researchers in the antibody community have recently ... characterization and consistency for antibodies in the laboratory. , The team ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... August 14, 2017 , ... ... Clinical Trials event, which will take place on September 6, 2017 at the ... Karlin, MD , Head of Experimental Medicine, Informatics, and Regulatory Strategy, Pfizer Innovative Research ...
Breaking Biology Technology: