Termite army invades our forts and castles

17 Jul 2014
POSTED BY Y Magazine

It seems the forts and castles of Oman have been receiving some unwelcome invaders – termites.

An infestation of the pests will force 18 forts and castles across the country to shut down so exterminator teams can get rid of the insects, which are trying to take a bite out of our heritage. Termites – which have an estimated 4,000 species – chomp their way through wood and can cause serious structural damage to buildings, as well as crops and forests.

Oman is now fighting back with pest controls being called in to protect our historic sites.

All monuments will welcome visitors once again when the work is done. Worry not, for each fort and castle will only be closed for a day, allowing you to fill your plate of cultural knowledge, minus the side of termites.

  • Al Mintarib Castle, Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan Castle and Bilad Sur Castle were closed from July 13 to July 16.
  • Ras Al Hadd Castle, Bait Al Raeeda and Nizwa Fort are each closed July 20 and July 21 respectively.
  • Ibri Castle, Barka Castle, Nakhal Fort Al Hazam Castle and Rustaq Fort will be closed for a day between August 3 and August 7.
  • Last for the removal treatment is Al Suwaiq Castle, Al Khandaq Castle and Al Hillah Castle, with closures from August 10 to August 12.

Did you know these weird termite facts?

  • When termite soldiers feel under threat, they create warning signals by banging their heads on the gallery walls, alerting the rest of the colony.
  • A female queen lays one egg every 15 seconds, resulting in 30,000 eggs a day.
  • One colony of termites can eat 1,000 pounds of wood a year.
  • An infested home may contain three to four termite colonies, each containing one million termites.
  • Some termites can enter your house through a gap as small as a 50-baisa coin. Let’s hope you don’t have too many cracks!
  • Termites release more than 150 million tonnes of methane gas a year. Maybe we can try to blame the termites for global warming?

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