Devon's termites face pounds 190,00 fighting force

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The Independent Online
THE Government declared war on a colony of termites in north Devon last night. Housing Minister Nick Raynsford announced in a Commons reply that a pounds 190,000 programme was being launched in an attempt to exterminate the insects which have infested two houses at Saunton, near Barnstaple.

The programme will take 12 years, but even then, Mr Raynsford added: "It should be stated that it is not possible to be certain of the outcome."

It is thought that the initial infestation took place about four years ago after a householder brought a termite-ridden plant back from holiday in the south of France.

The Government asked the Building Research Establishment to deal with the termites, and working together with the Pest Management Unit of Imperial College, London, the Natural Resources Institute, and the French organisation, CTBA-Biotec, the BRE-led consortium has now come up with a masterplan.

Under the programme, the property will be monitored to within a 500-metre radius of the two houses, and "bait stations" will be set up using an "insect growth regulator" called hexaflumuron.

The theory is that the termites will take the bait and the growth regulator "will prevent the developing insects from maturing".

Mr Raynsford said that if termite "activity" was detected beyond the 500-metre range, the programme "will be extended".

As for the timescale, Mr Raynsford said: "Monitoring will continue for up to ten years after activity has ceased in order to ensure that the treatment has indeed been effective."