Colonies of harmful termites have established themselves in the Netherlands for the first time. Entomological researchers have found colonies of the American ground termite, a species that can cause a lot of damage to buildings by gnawing on wood, in at least three locations, NOS reports.
The first report of termites in the Netherlands came from a building in the countryside of Zuid-Holland in 2019. Later, it turned out that the termites had spread to the neighbors. The termites cause significant damage to the houses, eating the foundations and wood on the ground floor and first floor. The buildings are no longer safe. Colonies of termites were later found in two other places. The researchers didn’t say where or how large the colonies were.
Research identified the critters as the American ground termite, Reticulutermes flavipes – an exotic species that originates from the warmer parts of the eastern United States and Mexico. These termites have already established themselves in other European countries like Germany, France, and Italy, but this is a first for the Netherlands.
The Animal Pests Knowledge and Advice Center and EIS Insects Knowledge Center, which conducted the research, called the discovery of the termite colonies very worrying. Termites have occasionally been found in the Netherlands, but it typically involved one or a handful of dead specimens in imported goods or bugs that came back with holidaymakers.
The researchers believe the first specimens of the current colonies likely arrived in the Netherlands about ten years ago with tropical plants imported from North America. It is essential to study these animals and how they spread further. Because the Netherlands’ climate is heating up, this is an emerging problem, the researchers said. It was thought that the termites wouldn’t survive Dutch winters, but that has turned out not to be true.
American ground termites can cause a lot of damage. They eat wooden beams and stumps from the inside, making them difficult to find before they’ve caused irreparable damage. In countries where the insects are common, insurers offer termite policies for people with wooden houses, usually at high premiums and on the condition that the woodwork is inspected every year.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/09/14/harmful-termite-colonies-settled-netherlands-first-time Harmful termite colonies have settled in Netherlands for first time