Forget the Cyclones and all of those Big Ten rivals. The University of Iowa’s top foe at the moment is the tiny but mighty termite. U-of-I entomologist Bob Setter says the battle with the wood-eating bugs is ongoing and is costing the Iowa City institution about $170,000 a year.Setter says “We have termites all across campus, depending on where you look. The more you look, the more you can find.” Setter was recruited from Canada three years ago to help the U-of-I take on termites and develop a plan to save several threatened buildings on campus. He says they’re -not- using traditional chemicals like neurotoxins or termiticides, but other newer products. Setter says the weapons being used are very target-specific and are ingested by the termites and spread among the colony to kill the reproductive components of the colony. He says the kings, queens, soldiers and workers all share the same food source and the colony collapses. Setter says there is a large colony under the Engineering building, just across from the U-of-I’s Main Library and many tens of thousands of books, which has him concerned. Setter says there’s a lot of “reimmigration,” meaning once a colony is wiped out, new termites march right in, sometimes within a month, sometimes several years later, but they keep coming back. He says Old Capitol, perhaps the U-of-I’s most-beloved building and one of the oldest on campus, is free of termites.
You are here: / / There’s trouble in the former capital of Iowa City, and that’s trouble with a T, which stands for termites