Conference awakens Europe to termite threat

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Termites are the world’s number one structural pest. To date, Europe has escaped their attention. However, a specialist one-day conference revealed that this is all likely to change.

More than 70 delegates from over 50 companies representing all sectors of the European pest control industry gathered at the first European termite market conference held on 4 February in Paris. Organised by, with the help of exclusive sponsor – Edialux – those present soon realised that termites could no longer be thought of as a non-European problem.

Opening the conference, Rob Fryatt joint organiser from, declared: “Termites are a growing and spreading pest across Europe. As organizers of this event, we felt the moment was right to address this insect and to bring together an array of experts from around the world to help us explore the biology of this pest, the market and the technologies available for its management.”

The other joint organiser, Rod Parker of Agricultural Information Services, explained that this rapidly growing and expanding market is valued, within Europe, at over £12 million at ex-manufacturer level. And it is predicted to grow to £20 million by 2012. So far, 75% of the market is in France, but Spain and Italy are fast developing and there are soon likely to be significant additional markets in countries such as Greece and Turkey.

In the UK we did have a brush with this insect pest in the 1990s. The unintentional importation and subsequent establishment of subterranean termites in a localised area in Saunton, North Devon provided definitive evidence of the ability of at least one genus of termite to survive in the UK climate and to present a risk to UK buildings. However, the colony was successfully eliminated.

Despite their active advance across Europe, the technical experts at the seminar felt that colonisation of the UK was unlikely. Even with the predicted affects of climate change, the UK was deemed too cold and too wet – at least our climate does have a few advantages! In addition, the English Channel provides a useful physical barrier.

Summing up the day’s proceedings, Serge Simon, on behalf of Edialux, the event’s exclusive sponsor said with true Gallic flair: “It is passion that keeps me going in my job every day. And it will be passion that drives us to become the architects of this new market sector.”

So this event was certainly a wake-up call to the European industry. To help the industry plan for the future, the organisers have promised a second conference to be held in late 2011. In addition, a European Termite Market report has been prepared which is available to purchase at for “500 or by contacting [email protected].

Termite conference organisers
Event organisers – Rob Fryatt (left) and Rod Parker

Termites are highly destructive
of wood

Serge Simon
Serge Simon of Edialux

Termite group speakers
The full international array of speakers. Left to right: Rod Parker (Agricultural Information Services),
Rob Fryatt (Xenex Associates), Peter May (BioProspect), Serge Simon (Edialux),
Dr Ted Granovsky (Granovsky Associates), Marc Jequel (FCBA), Steven Braodbent (Ensystex),
Doug Howick (TPAA) and Raja Mahendran (International Consultant)

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