By Jessica Lovell
The city’s termite control officer wasn’t sure how widespread the damage might be after termites were discovered at the River Run Centre this past spring, so his strategy was to inspect a wide area in hopes of avoiding future surprises.
“We don’t want to keep being surprised like this,” said termite control officer Tim Myles. He was referencing to the recent discovery at the River Run Centre, as well as a find on King Street the previous summer.
“The cost of doing an inspection is relatively small,” so it made sense to cover a broad area just to be on the safe side, Myles said.
After inspecting 300 properties near downtown Guelph, evidence of termites was found on five of them, said a news release issued this week.
“I sort of expected it would be small. On the other hand, I had no way of knowing,” said Myles.
He worried, “what if they’ve been in the old buildings downtown and it’s never been reported before?”
The River Run Centre is counted among the five properties where the termites were found.
The others are John Galt Park, to the west of the River Run, and three Wellington Catholic District School Board buildings, located between Woolwich Street and the Speed River.
The city is also monitoring termite activity on 12 adjacent properties to prevent the spread of termites downtown, the release said.
Of the three school board buildings, only one showed evidence of damage, said Myles.
“They’re going to have to do a chemical treatment as well as renovations” to repair the damage, he said.
Bar chewed up
This is similar to the work that was required at the River Run Centre, where the insects managed to make their way into the building and attack the wood of the bar area.
“The entire bar had to be rebuilt,” said Myles. The cost of the chemical treatment to rid the insects from the area – amounting to about $1,000 – was small compared with the $10,000 renovation costs, he said.
But in spite of the fact that more properties with termite problems seem to be popping up, Myles maintained that the city is on the right track with its termite-control strategies.
“We’ve put traps everywhere they are and outside of where they are,” he said.
Chemically treating only affected properties does not tackle the overall termite population, he said. “The population just moves next door. That’s why our program is very different.”
According to information on the city’s website, this program includes inspections, monitoring properties with traps, reduction in habitat through yard wood management, colony level suppressive treatments, and limited use of conventional chemical treatments.
Property owners in and around termite zones are asked to remove dead trees and stumps from their properties and to use non-wood materials for renovations and landscaping. Inspections are required before properties in termite zones can be sold.
To prevent the spread of termites, even people who don’t live in termite zones are urged to be careful about donating or receiving any wood items that have been stored on the ground, including firewood, landscaping ties, wood sheds and mulch.
The non-native eastern subterranean termite was found in Guelph in the 1970s near Goldie Mill Park. It was accidentally introduced to Ontario from the United States.
Currently, Guelph has five termite management areas, including the latest addition around the River Run Centre, known as the John Galt Park termite management area. The other areas include the Emma/Pine, Woolwich, Windermere and King termite management areas.
The five areas, altogether, include 663 properties.
Since 2007, the city’s termite management program has proven effective in reducing termite populations in the Emma/Pine, Woolwich and Windermere areas, the city’s news release said.
By Jessica Lovell