Vetiver as a Termite Repellant

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This article from the August 22, 2007 issue of the Wall Street Journal discusses the work done by Louisiana State University professor Gregg Henderson. An entomologist at LSU's AgCenter, Dr. Henderson is interested in Vetiver's ability to repel subterranean termites, including the rapacious Formosan species that is devouring much of New Orleans. His studies have convinced him Vetiver would be ideal for reinforcing the city's protective floodwall system, fighting erosion and discouraging termite infestations that he believes have weakened the levees and even eating the seam-filling material used in the concrete dike walls.

But the Army Corps of Engineers has so far shunned the grass for what many believe to be its greatest use: erosion control. While Vetiver can't survive in colder northern climates, devotees argue the grass is ideally suited to help protect hurricane-prone coastal areas in the South.

Vetiver’s use as a termite repellant and barrier has been extensively observed and documented in African and Asian countries. Over the years, Dr. Henderson and other scientists pinpointed a chemical in Vetiver roots called nootkatone that's toxic to many insects, including termites. Several patents later, Dr. Henderson is conducting more experiments to prove his theory that Vetiver grass can form an effective barrier to subterranean termites, and that it can thrive in a salty Gulf Coast environment. Read the complete article in The Wall Street Journal, Found in the Weeds: Bug Scientist Touts Cure for Levee Leaks for additional details on Dr. Gregg Henderson’s research.


Unknown said...

Termites eat up all the wooden things and are easy to be inspected but after I read your blog, I got new method to remove them. Thanks for posting your blog about Termite Control Tempe AZ.

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