NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — In some areas, the pace of storm debris removal and trash pickup is crawling.
Now, some are worried about what could be crawling on their streets. Following Hurricane Ida, termites, rodents and other pests are a big concern as cleanup in neighborhoods lingers.
Joe Martin, an entomologist with Terminix said it’s important to check downed trees for termite damage like mud tunnels or shelter tubes. Martin said the biggest threat in the area is the Formosan termite.
“What we’re seeing is Formosan termites harboring in our trees. They’re creating reservoirs in our trees and harboring millions of termites, 2 million to 10 million, and they can forge up to 100 yards away,” Martin said.
The issue is when a tree falls, the termites go back underground and look for a new food source.
Martin said, “It’s important if you see a downed tree with termite evidence, you might need to inspect your house, inspect your yard and make sure you don’t have any wood stacked up against the house.”
For homes and businesses with roof damage, it is vital to seal everything as quickly as possible.
“Six, 12 months down the road if you still have a moisture problem and termites swarm, they can create an above ground nest,” Martin said. “They won’t need moisture from the ground because they’ll have moisture in the roof from a leak.”
Another issue from the storm is not only the vegetative debris, but the household debris and trash piling up on the side of the street that’s attracting flies and rodents.
Kevin Scott, a New Orleans resident said, “I’ve seen roaches. No rats yet, but they’re coming.”
Scott is so fed-up with the stench and waiting for sanitation crews that he hired someone to haul off his trash following Ida.
“I’m trying to spray the water to clean it up and make it better,” Scott said.
Terminix recommends containing trash and debris as much as possible to cutdown on pests and rodents.
“I know it’s hard, but try to seal stuff as best as you can,” Martin said.
Leaders across parish lines are asking for patience because Ida generated so much debris.
In Orleans, the trash saga has continued for months and on Friday, the City Council will consider a one time suspension of sanitation fees for customers.