For the first time in almost a decade, termites have been found in at least one Winnipeg home.
Taz Stuart, an entomologist with Poulin's Pest Control Services, confirmed to CBC News that a well-established subterranean termite colony was found this week in a home in the city's St. Boniface area.
The former City of Winnipeg entomologist said a termite infestation is hard to miss, as a colony is capable of consuming half a kilogram of wood each day.
What's not known, Stuart said, is where the termites came from.
"That's the problem — it could have been on some imported wood, it could have been on an item from out of the U.S. or from B.C. or in Ontario, in the Maritimes," he told CBC's Radio Noon program on Friday.
"People don't know what they're looking at. They assume it's a little white ant and it's really not — it's a termite, and away you go."
Anyone who sees evidence of termite damage, such as tubes running along the walls, is urged to call a professional.
Termite infestations were a big problem in Winnipeg in the late 1980s and late 1990s, affecting a number of homes — including seven properties on one block of Youville Street.
Haven't spread to other homes
In the latest case, Stuart said it does not appear that the termites have spread to neighbours' homes so far.
"But the reality is as they get older and more mature, the colony gets more mature you get more and more individuals, you may see movement to other houses," he said.
"That's why it's very, very important to get this place under control and maybe the neighbours not have to worry as much."
The house in question is currently being treated, but Stuart warned that it can take years to eradicate a termite colony.
The last reported termite infestation was on Youville Street in St. Boniface in the late 1990s, and the problem was eradicated around 2004, he said.
Pam Carrier, who lives on Youville Street, recalled the turmoil she and her family had to endure when termites were found in their home in the '80s.
The insects ate her garden and her son's sandbox, and they couldn't live in the house for a period of time as the city treated the infestation, she said.
Carrier said her house is now termite-free, and she hopes other residents won't have to deal with the same problem now.