Elora and Fergus termite problem bigger than previously thought says expert

·3 min read

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Tackling Centre Wellington’s termite problems is going to be a bigger job than one expert had hoped.

Tim Myles, entomologist and termite expert, told the township’s committee of the whole this week that he was surprised to see how extensive the problem is when all properties were added up.

Last summer and fall, Myles and his company had surveyed areas in Elora and Fergus that were previously known to have termite activity.

Myles said this involved a five minute inspection at homes to check stumps, firewood and wood chips to find evidence of termite activity.

Definitive activity was found at 150 homes but Myles’ eradication method involves a block-wide approach.

This means treating properties that are adjacent or between ones with confirmed activity and the ones surrounding these as well.

Therefore, Myles said the number of properties involved approached 500.

Comparatively, he said a similar project in Elmira is involving around 120 properties.

Using the same costing figures, he estimated using his services would cost the town $1 million over five years. He said he is confident his technique can work to nearly eradicate the problem.

However, he wasn’t even sure he could take on this project alongside his work in Guelph and Elmira.

“I think it's too much for me to squeeze in without gearing up to a second career,” Myles said to the committee. “The scale of it is five times what I hoped it had been.”

The committee was not making a decision on any future actions but councillors were left wondering, where does this leave them.

Coun. Ian MacRae asked if he could train others in his technique so they could take on this project.

Myles said he wasn’t going to “hold somebody’s hand and teach them” but his system is known and could be implemented by others.

“Being in the business, I’m sure you know other people doing similar things ... would you be able to provide a list to us of other people who do this kind of thing?” Coun. Neil Dunsmore asked. “What kind of guidance would you give our staff if we were to take this on ourselves?”

Myles said he could give a list but stressed there is nobody who does what he does on top of the experience he has as a researcher.

Dunsmore asked for clarification if he would take it on in any capacity if the township paid for services.

Myles replied he wouldn’t be able to start too heavily this year because of prior commitments.

“What we could do if we waded into this is some priority stump removal and indoor inspections,” Myles said but added they wouldn’t be able to get into chemical treatment or traps until next year.

When asked by Coun. Bob Foster about what residents can do to limit termite spread, Myles said they should practice yard wood management.

This means getting rid of wood chip mulch, stumps and other items of dead wood.

Mayor Kelly Linton said more discussion is needed on how to proceed but said it was good to have a solid foundation of facts.

The committee of the whole accepted the report as information.

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com

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