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Meridian schools prepare to face termite problem

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Dec. 20, 2001
Archie Scarbrough, Meridian Public School District's executive director of facilities, remembers termites being a problem in classroom cabinets at Northwest Junior High School when he taught industrial arts there 20 years ago.
Scarbrough said he could find no district records for regular inspections or treatment of termites, so the district is now planning to advertise for bids to solve its problem.
Scarbrough said the district will advertise for two different methods of treating all of the school campuses and administrative offices to remove the pests and implement continued inspections.
The traditional method of termite eradication is liquid treatment. Exterminators inject poison into the ground and foundation of buildings to kill the existing termites and block new ones from arriving.
The other method is known as a baiting system. Wood is locked into a canister buried in the ground. Exterminators check the canister periodically. When they find termites, a poison is added to the canister that the termites carry back to their colony.
Scarbrough estimates the traditional method would cost the district about $244,000 to cover all properties in phases over a four-year period, followed by annual fees for inspection and prevention. He said bids will probably be advertised next month.
According to Richard Massingill, salesman with Terminix, eastern subterranean termites are common in Meridian. The termites swarm in the spring during mating season, then lose their wings and establish underground colonies.
Termites build mud tubes to their food sources. "They can get in any building and feed on wood, paper, clothing, anything with cellulose in it," Massingill said.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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