BAF reassures control of AST infestations fully active
September 19, 2018 12:51 am
The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) has clarified that the Asian Subterranean Termites (AST) project is fully active and is calling for support from the public, especially those residing in AST infested districts of Lautoka and Labasa to help contain its spread and prevent more houses from becoming infested.
The Lautoka and Labasa districts are recognized as biosecurity emergency areas for AST. This termite is exotic to Fiji and an invasive insect that has caused massive damages to residential as well as commercial buildings and vegetation.
BAF under its “Termite Project” has dedicated Teams in Lautoka and Labasa that are working strenuously to contain, control and manage AST in the infested areas, that is, parts of Lautoka and Labasa districts.
BAF Chief Executive Hillary Kumwenda says their efforts can only gain significant leverage when the public also actively contributes towards stopping the spread of AST through early reporting and assisting officers during the treatment and monitoring process.
He stressed that AST is one of the most difficult species of termites in the world and BAF has undertaken various interventions in terms of treatment, monitoring and control of the spread of AST.
A significant part of BAF’s intervention program, Kumwenda says is creating public awareness.
He says the awareness campaigns have been highly effective with the public responding to BAF’s plea for reporting any signs of infestation or sighting of AST immediately.
From a total of 1,685 sites being attended to in 2015, BAF inspected 4,198 sites in 2016 and 4,908 sites in 2017.
This year 1,336 sites were inspected in the first 6 months followed by approximately 600 inspections in the July-August period.
Early reporting he reiterates is crucial to avoid major damage to houses.
BAF is encouraging stakeholders and the general public to contact them on the dedicated short code 5996, especially those living in the infested zones, to ensure they report any suspected AST sightings and work with the Authority in controlling and containing AST.