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Current distribution of the Formosan Subterranean Termite and other termite species (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae, Kalotermitidae) in Louisiana

Authors:
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Riverdale, Maryland, United States

Abstract and Figures

Un reconocimiento de la distribución actual de la termita subterránea formosana, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki y de otras especies de termitas fue llevado a cabo en Louisiana, EE.UU. con la colaboración de 91 compañías de control de plagas, las agencias estatales y municipales, y el Buró de Control de Mosquitos y Termitas de Nueva Orleans desde enero de 1999 hasta agosto de 2002. Un total de 812 muestras fueron usados en el reconocimiento constituyendo las ocho especies de termitas conocidas de Louisiana. Las termitas subterráneas identificadas fueron Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), R. virginicus (Banks), R. hageni Banks, y C. formosanus. Las termitas de madera seca identificadas fueron Incisitermes snyderi (Light), I. minor (Hagen), Cryptotermes brevis (Walker), y Kalotermes approximatus (Snyder). Incisitermes minor fue tambien colectada en Mississippi y es un nuevo registro en aquel estado. Los datos colectivos sobre la temporada de vuelos para cada especie también fueron registrados. Translation provided by author.
Content may be subject to copyright.
580
Florida Entomologist
85(4) December 2002
CURRENT DISTRIBUTION OF THE FORMOSAN
SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE AND OTHER TERMITE SPECIES
(ISOPTERA: RHINOTERMITIDAE, KALOTERMITIDAE) IN LOUISIANA
M
ATTHEW
T. M
ESSENGER
1
, N
AN
-Y
AO
S
U
2
AND
R
UDOLF
H. S
CHEFFRAHN
2
1
City of New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board,6601 Stars and Stripes Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70126
2
Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences,
3205 College Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
A
BSTRACT
A statewide survey in Louisiana on the current distribution of the Formosan subterranean
termite,
Coptotermes formosanus
Shiraki, and other termite species was conducted with 91
pest control companies, city and state agencies, and the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite
Control Board from January 1999 to August 2002. A total of 812 samples were used in the
survey constituting all eight known termite species from Louisiana. The subterranean ter-
mite species identified were
Reticulitermes flavipes
(Kollar),
R. virginicus
(Banks),
R. hageni
Banks, and
C
.
formosanus
. The drywood termite species identified were
Incisitermes snyderi
(Light),
I. minor
(Hagen),
Cryptotermes brevis
(Walker), and
Kalotermes approximatus
(Sny-
der).
Incisitermes minor
was also collected in Mississippi and is a new record in that state.
The collective data on the flight season of each species was also recorded.
Key Words:
Coptotermes formosanus
, Rhinotermitidae, Kalotermitidae
R
ESUMEN
Un reconocimiento de la distribución actual de la termita subterránea formosana,
Coptoter-
mes formosanus
Shiraki y de otras especies de termitas fue llevado a cabo en Louisiana,
EE.UU. con la colaboración de 91 compañías de control de plagas, las agencias estatales y
municipales, y el Buró de Control de Mosquitos y Termitas de Nueva Orleans desde enero de
1999 hasta agosto de 2002. Un total de 812 muestras fueron usados en el reconocimiento
constituyendo las ocho especies de termitas conocidas de Louisiana. Las termitas subterrá-
neas identificadas fueron
Reticulitermes flavipes
(Kollar),
R. virginicus
(Banks),
R. hageni
Banks, y
C
.
formosanus
. Las termitas de madera seca identificadas fueron
Incisitermes sny-
deri
(Light),
I. minor
(Hagen),
Cryptotermes brevis
(Walker), y
Kalotermes approximatus
(Snyder).
Incisitermes minor
fue tambien colectada en Mississippi y es un nuevo registro en
aquel estado. Los datos colectivos sobre la temporada de vuelos para cada especie también
fueron registrados.
Translation provided by author.
The Formosan subterranean termite (FST),
Coptotermes formosanus
Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhino-
termitidae), was first identified in Lake Charles,
Louisiana, in 1966 and in New Orleans in 1967
(Spink 1967). It is widely believed that this exotic
species was introduced into the continental U.S.
after infested material was brought over from
Asia after World War II (Su and Tamashiro 1987).
For the past 30 years, FST infestations have been
found in other cities and various small communi-
ties throughout Louisiana. The main source of in-
troduction to these other areas is caused, in part,
by the transportation of infested building materi-
als, utility poles, and railroad ties used in land-
scaping (La Fage 1987). Then, natural spread has
occurred via alate dispersal flights.
The last statewide survey involving the pest
control community for all termite species was con-
ducted around the time of the first confirmed re-
port of the FST (Weesner 1965). During the last
survey, species and flight data were only recorded
from Rapides Parish, which includes the city of
Alexandria.
Reticulitermes flavipes
(Kollar),
R.
virginicus
(Banks),
R. hageni
Banks (Isoptera:
Rhinotermitidae), and
Incisitermes snyderi
(Light) (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae) were collected
from this region of the state. Previously, Light
(1934) and Snyder (1954) listed five species in
Louisiana. They included
R. flavipes
,
R. virginicus
(Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae),
Kalotermes
(=
In-
cisitermes
)
snyderi
,
Kalotermes approximatus
(Snyder), and
Cryptotermes brevis
(Walker)
(Isoptera: Kalotermitidae). Recently, Messenger
et al. (2000) discovered established populations of
Incisitermes minor
(Hagen) (Isoptera: Kaloter-
mitidae) in New Orleans.
Since the last national survey in 1965, individ-
ual statewide termite surveys have been con-
Messenger et al.: Louisiana Termite Survey 581
ducted in Georgia (Scheffrahn et al. 2001), Florida
(Scheffrahn et al. 1988), Texas (Howell et al.
1987), and South Carolina (Hathorne et al. 2000).
These surveys significantly contributed to our un-
derstanding of the current distribution of the eco-
nomically important FST.
Because there have been many unconfirmed re-
ports of the FST throughout the state, the main ob-
jective of this survey was to identify and confirm
the current distribution of the FST in Louisiana
with the help of the pest control industry, the Loui-
siana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and
mosquito control districts. In addition, the New Or-
leans Mosquito and Termite Control Board concur-
rently conducted a separate statewide survey for all
subterranean and drywood termite species.
M
ATERIALS
AND
M
ETHODS
Pest Management Professional (PMP) Survey
Beginning in January 1999, letters asking for
participation in the survey were mailed to 589
PMPs and mosquito control districts throughout
Louisiana, including a few pest control companies
operating near the state line in Mississippi and
Texas. Termite collecting packets were then pre-
pared and sent to each company who returned the
postcard with a response of willingness to partici-
pate. Each packet included individually num-
bered collection vials (13 ml polypropylene Snap-
Seal®, Corning Brand) containing 85% ethanol,
corresponding vial data sheets, return padded en-
velopes, and a hand-held aspirator. Each partici-
pant was encouraged to collect termite alates and
soldiers during routine inspections and treat-
ments of residential and commercial structures.
They were also encouraged to include any rele-
vant information from each collection on the data
sheet, which included date and location of collec-
tion, flight date (if applicable), and any additional
comments and requests for more collection vials.
N. O. Mosquito and Termite Control Board (NOMTCB)
Survey
The senior author and other coworkers con-
ducted a deliberate survey throughout Louisiana
from 1999 to 2001. Termites were collected from live
and dead trees, state parks, railroad ties, highway
rest areas, private and public buildings, and any
other type of wood found along highways and parish
roads. We also traveled to addresses throughout the
state to verify FST infestations and conduct further
surveys in the surrounding areas. In addition, sam-
ples and FST locations were received from J.
McPherson, Program Coordinator, Pesticide and
Environmental Programs, Louisiana Department
of Agriculture and Forestry, Baton Rouge, LA.
For both surveys, termite alates and soldiers
were identified to species using termite keys de-
veloped by Banks & Snyder (1920), Miller (1949),
Snyder (1954), Weesner (1965), Scheffrahn & Su
(1994), and Hostettler et al. (1995). Samples con-
taining only workers (
Reticulitermes
spp.) or
pseudergates were identified to the family and/or
genus level. Data from both surveys was entered
into a computer database (FileMaker® Pro 3.0,
Claris® Corporation). Longitude and latitude co-
ordinates from the NOMTCB survey were re-
corded at each sample site using a Garmin GPS
model 12 CX (Garmin International, Inc., Olathe,
KS) hand-held global positioning receiver. Loca-
tions of each collection were plotted using Arc-
View GIS version 3.1 software (Environmental
Systems Research Institute, Inc., Redlands, CA).
R
ESULTS
PMP Survey
Out of the original 589 survey letter mailings,
91 (15%) companies and individuals agreed to
participate by collecting any type of termite they
encountered during routine inspections and treat-
ments of urban structures and trees. There was no
response from 453 (77%) companies and 45 (8%)
responded, but declined to participate. The major-
ity of the companies who declined indicated that
they do not conduct termite treatments.
As a result, 52 of the 91 participants returned
collection vials for a total of 426 samples. All eight
known termite species were collected (Table 1).
The majority of these samples were collected from
separate addresses.
Reticulitermes flavipes
was
the most commonly collected species throughout
the state (Table 1). The FST was the second most
commonly collected species; however, the majority
of the FST samples were collected from the New
Orleans and Lake Charles areas (Table 1).
Each participant also included an exact or ap-
proximate date of disperal flight whenever they
collected alates. For the subterranean species,
T
ABLE
1. T
OTAL
NUMBER
OF
IDENTIFIED
TERMITE
SPE-
CIES
FROM
VIALS
COLLECTED
DURING
THE
PMP
SURVEY
.
Termite species
Number
of vials
Reticulitermes flavipes
204
Coptotermes formosanus
118
Reticulitermes virginicus
40
Incisitermes snyderi
9
Cryptotermes brevis
7
Incisitermes minor
3
Kalotermes approximatus
3
Reticulitermes hageni
3
Workers/pseudergates only 39
TOTAL 426
582
Florida Entomologist
85(4) December 2002
R.
flavipes
alates were recovered from Jan. 17 to
April 19,
R.
virginicus
alates from March 1 to May
17,
R. hageni
on Dec. 17, 2001 (single record), and
the FST from April 12 to May 9. For the kaloter-
mid species,
I. snyderi
alates were recovered from
May 10 to July 22,
C. brevis
from May 9 to July 25,
and
K. approximatus
from Oct. 10 to Nov. 1. Alate
samples of
I
.
minor
were collected from Sept. 10 to
Dec. 4 in Rayne, Cameron, and Le Moyeu, LA;
however, monitoring of dispersal flights by the se-
nior author in the New Orleans metro area oc-
curred each year from late April to early June.
NOMTCB Survey
Reticulitermes flavipes
was by far the most
commonly collected termite species throughout
Louisiana (Table 2).
Reticulitermes hageni
and
R.
virginicus
were the two second most commonly
collected species (Table 2). The number of FST col-
lections only represents a few selected, confirmed
sites throughout the state and does not include
any samples taken from New Orleans. The distri-
bution of FST infestations in Louisiana has signif-
icantly increased since 1966 (Table 3).
T
ABLE
2. T
OTAL
NUMBER
OF
TERMITE
SPECIES
AND
SAM-
PLES
COLLECTED
DURING
THE
NOMTCB
SUR-
VEY
.
Termite species
Number of
collections
Reticulitermes flavipes
177
Reticulitermes hageni
65
Reticulitermes virginicus
64
Coptotermes formosanus
40
Incisitermes snyderi 21
Incisitermes minor 9
Cryptotermes brevis 8
Kalotermes approximatus 2
TOTAL 386
TABLE 3. LOCATION OF COPTOTERMES FORMOSANUS INFESTATIONS IN LOUISIANA, 1966-2001.
Year Parish City
1966* Orleans New Orleans, Algiers
Calcasieu Lake Charles
1968* Orleans New Orleans, Algiers
Calcasieu Lake Charles
Jefferson Grand Isle
La Fourche Raceland
1986* Orleans New Orleans, Algiers
Calcasieu Lake Charles, Westlake
Jefferson Metairie, Gretna, Grand Isle
La Fourche Raceland
St. Tammany Slidell, Covington
Lafayette Lafayette
East Baton Rouge Baton Rouge
2001 Orleans New Orleans, Algiers
Calcasieu Lake Charles, Westlake, Moss Bluff, Sulphur
Jefferson Metairie, Gretna, Grand Isle, Kenner, Harahan, Westwego, Marrero
La Fourche Raceland, Thibodaux, Larose, Cut Off, Galliano
St. Tammany Slidell, Covington
Lafayette Lafayette
East Baton Rouge Baton Rouge
Ascension Prairieville
St. Charles Norco
Assumption Pierre Part
Terrebonne Houma, Montegut
St. Bernard Chalmette
Plaquemines Belle Chase
Iberia New Iberia
Vermilion Abbeville
St. Landry Sunset
Sabine Noble
Ouachita Monroe, West Monroe
2002 Acadia Rayne
St. Mary Amelia
*La Fage 1987.
Messenger et al.: Louisiana Termite Survey 583
In New Orleans, FST flight activity was moni-
tored by the senior author using glue traps (TRAP-
PER® LTD, Bell Laboratories, Inc., Madison, WI)
installed under lights near the French Quarter.
Nightly observations and the number of FST alates
recovered from glue traps reveal peak flight activity
usually occurs from mid-May to early June, with
some activity through mid-July (Table 4).
The majority of the I. minor and C. brevis sam-
ples were received from J. McPherson and local
residents of New Orleans.
Location data from both surveys for the FST
(Fig. 1), Reticulitermes species (Fig. 2), and kalo-
termid species (Fig. 3) are presented on ArcView-
generated maps.
DISCUSSION
The distribution of the FST in Louisiana has
increased dramatically since the first confirmed
reports in the mid-60s. However, many of these
newer, confirmed infestations have remained rel-
atively localized, and state officials have begun to
target these areas for immediate treatment. Most
of these localized introductions have occurred
around structures, such as churches, or parks and
campsites where FST-infested railroad ties were
used as landscaping and/or building material. Fu-
ture monitoring and confirmation of any new FST
reports throughout the state is the first step to
controlling human-aided spread.
TABLE 4. COMBINED ALATE FLIGHT DATES FOR COPTOTERMES FORMOSANUS IN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, FROM
1998 TO 2001.
Date Year Date Year Date Year
May 4 1998 2nd week of Jan. 2000 April 8 2001
May 11 2nd week of Feb. April 13
May 16 March 26 April 14
May 18* April 18 April 15
May 19 April 25 April 16
May 22 April 29 April 24
May 26 May 3 May 1
May 29* May 4 May 4
June 6 May 5 May 5
June 8 May 8 May 7
June 18 May 10 May 9
June 21 May 14 May 12
June 23 May 15 * May 13
June 28 May 21 May 14
2nd week of Feb. 1999 May 22 May 15*
April 6 May 26 May 17
April 26 May 29 May 20
April 27 June 4 May 21
April 28 June 15 May 22
May 6 June 16 May 23
May 7 June 17 May 24
May 12* May 25
May 14 May 26
May 17 May 31
May 18 June 1*
May 19 June 4
May 25 June 7
May 27 June 11
May 29* June 14
June 6 June 18
June 9 June 21
June 10 June 24
June 22 June 28
June 27
1st week of July
July 7
July 13
3rd week of July
*Largest dispersal flight (s) each year.
584 Florida Entomologist 85(4) December 2002
Outside the New Orleans and Lake Charles
areas, R. flavipes and R. virginicus are the two
most economically important subterranean ter-
mite species, with R. flavipes being the most com-
mon. The spatial distribution of all three
Reticulitermes species is consistent statewide;
however, R. flavipes seems to be more common in
the extreme southern portions of the state. For ex-
ample, samples of R. flavipes were collected from
house pilings directly in the sand at Holly Beach
on the Gulf of Mexico and from fishing camps
around the Mississippi River delta basin.
During the PMP survey, R. hageni was rarely
encountered in structures. In addition, K. approx-
imatus was only collected from dead portions of
trees and from alates flying into the vehicles of
participants on two separate occasions. For both
species, this confirms their general status as very
limited structural pests (Weesner 1970, Schef-
frahn et al. 1988).
Incisitermes snyderi and C. brevis are the two
most economically important kalotermid species
in Louisiana, with I. snyderi being the most com-
mon. Cryptotermes brevis is a non-endemic spe-
cies and has only been recovered from structural
lumber and furniture. Incisitermes snyderi is an
endemic species commonly found in structural
lumber and in dead portions of live trees through-
out the southern half of the state.
The overall number of I. minor collections
throughout the state was unexpected. Another in-
teresting discovery was the number of public
schools throughout the state with very active I.
minor infestations, particularly in window frame-
work. Incisitermes minor is endemic to CA, AZ,
and Mexico, but has been introduced to many ar-
eas in the state, and in most cases, inside furni-
ture. For example, a sample was taken from an
infested pool table in Natchez, MS. In New Or-
leans, I. minor alates are usually collected from
mid-April to mid-June during midday flights.
However, alates were recovered after swarming
from a window frame in an elementary school in
Rayne, LA, during the second week of September
2001. In addition, I. minor alates were collected
after swarming in a high school in Cameron, LA,
Fig. 1. Current distribution of Coptotermes formosanus in Louisiana.
Messenger et al.: Louisiana Termite Survey 585
in late September 2001. Historical records reveal
the flight season of I. minor usually occurs from
July to December, and as early as May in the lab-
oratory (Harvey 1934). In addition, I. minor flight
records in California (Snyder 1954), Florida
(Scheffrahn et al. 1988), and Georgia (Scheffrahn
et al. 2001) revealed swarming usually occurs
from September to November. An alarming dis-
covery revealed I. minor alates swarming in a
lumberyard near Le Moyeu, LA, in December
2001. This could lead to future introductions
throughout the state.
In addition to the overall survey, a pictorial ter-
mite identification key was developed in 2001 to
help PMPs, state officials, and termite researchers
identify the FST and other economically important
subterranean and drywood termite species cur-
rently present in Louisiana (Messenger 2002).
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We are grateful to E. S. Bordes, M. K. Carroll, and J.
C. McAllister (NOMTCB) for reviewing the manuscript.
Special thanks to John McPherson, Louisiana Depart-
ment of Agriculture and Forestry, for providing samples
and FST locations. The senior author would like to
thank the following NOMTCB employees, Mike Schultz,
Perry Ponseti, and Gus Ramirez, for their help in col-
lecting termites. We would also like to thank the follow-
ing individuals for advice, information, and collecting
support: Dan Foster and Chris Castalano (Terminix—
Houma), Eddie Martin and Vincent Palumbo (Ter-
minix—Metairie), Zack Lemann (Audubon Institute),
and Claudia Riegel (Dow AgroSciences LLC). We are
very grateful to the following pest control companies for
submitting termite samples: Al’s Pest Control Service,
Inc.; Louisiana Bug Doctors; Beasley Pest Control, Inc.;
Pest Aid Co. of Alexandria, Inc.; Dial One Franklynn
Pest Control; American Exterminating Co.; McKenzie
Pest Control; Absolute Termite Control; Foti Extermi-
nating Co.; Edgewood Pest Control, Inc.; Johnny Jones
Pest Control Co.; Joyner’s Pest Control; Fischer Envi-
ronmental Services, Inc.; Terminix—Gretna; Al Lati-
olais Exterminating Co.; International Rivercenter;
Responsible Pest Management LLC.; Sikes Pest Con-
trol, Inc.; J & R Pest Control, Inc.; Hubbards Pest Con-
trol; Tri-Parish Pest Control Co., Inc.; David Carter
Exterminating Co., Inc.; Denney Exterminating Co.;
Environmental Termite and Pest Control; Orkin Exter-
minating—Baton Rouge; E.A. Redd Pest Control, Inc.;
Fig. 2. Combined distribution data of Reticulitermes spp. in Louisiana from PMP and NOMTCB surveys.
586 Florida Entomologist 85(4) December 2002
Richard L. Robards Termite Services; Hookfin Pest Con-
trol Co., Inc.; Sugarland Exterminating Co., Inc.; Cou-
hig Southern Environmental; Terminix—Slidell; Anti-
Pest & Veitch, Inc.; Kevin’s Pest Control, Inc.; Slug-A-
Bug Exterminating Co.; E & G Pest Control, Inc.; Jer-
ome Williams Pest Control Co.; Woods Pest Control;
Sears Termite & Pest Control Inc.; Billiot Industries,
Inc.; Vexcon Inc.; Stetler Pest Control; A Plus Extermi-
nators, Inc.; Brent’s Pest Control Services; Guardian
Pest Control; Arceneaux Consulting; Calcasieu Parish
Mosquito Control; East Baton Rouge Mosquito and Ro-
dent Control; Mosquito Control, Inc.; St. Bernard Parish
Mosquito Control; Louisiana Department of Agriculture
and Forestry; and USDA-ARS SRRC. Partial funding
for this project was provided by USDA-ARS under the
grant agreement No. 58-6435-8-108. This article is Flor-
ida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No.
R-08828.
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Biology of termites. Vol. 2. Academic Press, New
York. 643 pp.
... Florida is the only known location in the continental United States where C. formosanus and C. gestroi are sympatric, and in the overlapping area of temperate and subtropical climate. C. formosanus is distributed in large areas of the Southern United States, including Alabama (Hu and Oi 2004), Florida (Koehler 1980), Georgia (Borstein 1993, Forschler et al. 2000, Louisiana (Spink 1967, Messenger et al. 2002, Brown et al. 2007), Mississippi (Sun et al. 2007), North and South Carolina (Beal 1967, Chambers et al. 1988), Tennessee (Su and Tamashiro 1986), Texas (Beal 1967), and Virginia (Woodson et al. 2001, Su 2003. The northern boundary of C. formosanus distribution in North America is located between 7.2 and 10 C isothermal lines, except that this species was not reported in Oklahoma and Arizona, probably because of the low humidity in these two states. ...
... Both R. flavipes and R. virginicus cause serious structural damage in large areas of the eastern United States (Su and Scheffrahn 1990). R. virginicus is reported in Alabama (Weesner 1965), Arkansas (Austin et al. 2004b), Florida (Scheffrahn and Su 2005), Georgia (Light 1934), Indiana (Wang et al. 2009), Kentucky, Louisiana (Messenger et al. 2002, Austin et al. 2004b), Maryland, Mississippi (Howard et al. 1982, Wang et al. 2003, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma (Austin et al. 2004a), Tennessee, Texas (Austin et al. 2004c), and Virginia (Bank and Snyder 1920, Light and Pickens 1934, Snyder 1934. R. flavipes is found in New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and all Midwestern, Southern and Northeastern United States except Maine and Vermont (Anonymous 1995). ...
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This study examined temperature preferences of four subterranean termite species, Coptotermes gestroi Wasmann, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, Reticulitermes virginicus (Banks) and Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), and effects of temperature on their survivorship and wood-consumption rate. Termite preference was tested on temperature gradient along a metal bridge divided into 12 zones. The number of termites in each zone was recorded to compute mean temperature preference values. The result showed that active C. gestroi, C. formosanus, R. virginicus and R. flavipes were found in temperature ranges of 13.0-38.6, 9.3-38.1, 8.2-36.7 and 5.2-34.0°C, respectively. Reticulitermes spp. preferred significantly lower temperatures than Coptotermes spp. Within the temperature range of 20-25°C, survivorship and wood-consumption rate were not significantly different among four species. R. flavipes survived at 10°C but not at 35°C. C. gestroi did not survive at 10°C, but the wood-consumption rate at 35°C was significantly higher than those of other temperatures in the range of 15-30°C. The results account for the geographic distributions of the four termite species and may be used to predict the potential areas of non-native invasions.
... The sources of these infestations remain unknown but could likely be originated from Hawaii, southcentral, or/and southeastern regions of the United States where C. formosanus is abundant. Although C. formosanus naturally disperses through nuptial flights, the primary method of range expansion in its invasive areas is through the transport of infested materials, primarily recycled railway ties/sleepers, and potted plants and furniture , Jenkins et al. 2002, Messenger et al. 2002, Lee et al. 2009, Evans et al. 2013. Once introduced, the heavily irrigated urban landscape and shorter winter period in Southern California likely helped the colonies establish and thrive. ...
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New infestations of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae), were discovered in southern California, namely in Rancho Santa Fe and La Mesa (San Diego County) and Highland Park (Los Angeles County) in 2021. We investigated whether these new infestations were related to the previous infestations in La Mesa (2018) and Canyon Lake, Riverside County (2020). We used two mitochondrial genes (COI and COII) and seven polymorphic microsatellite markers to infer the genetic relationship between southern California colonies and their breeding systems. The samples collected from seven localities belonged to five colonies (inter-colony distances ranged from ~160 m to 185 km, with an average of 97 km). Of these five colonies, two were simple families, and three were extended families. Structure analyses of microsatellite genotypes grouped the termite samples into three distinct genetic clusters, suggesting at least three independent introduction events in southern California.
... However, in 2013 and 2014, simultaneous flights were observed at a single location in Broward County (Chouvenc et al. 2015a), confirming the overlap of the dispersal flight seasons of the two species in the area, with the unexpected consequence of a potential for hybridization (Su et al. 2017). Intrinsic colony conditions and environmental cues governing the timing of the dispersal flights of the two species have received extensive attention in various locations of their native and invasive range (Bess 1970, Higa and Tamashiro 1983, Leong et al. 1983, Thompson 1985, Henderson and Delaplane 1994, Henderson 1996, Ferraz and Cancello 2001, Messenger et al. 2002, Neoh and Lee 2009, Harit et al. 2014, Mullins et al. 2015. However, each study from different locations used different methods and focused on different environmental cues. ...
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The dispersal flight activity ("swarming") of two invasive subterranean termite species, Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) and Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, was monitored in metropolitan southeastern Florida, where both species are now sympatric and major structural pests. Historical records of alates collected in the area showed that the two species have distinct peaks of flight activity, from mid-February to late April for C. gestroi, and from early April to late June for C. formosanus. However, an overlap of the two dispersal flight seasons has been observed since at least 2005. The daily monitoring of dispersal flight events in southeastern Florida in 2014, 2015, and 2016 confirmed that simultaneous flights occurred several times each year. In addition, environmental conditions for favorable flights were identified, and it was established that low temperature was the primary factor inhibiting both species from dispersal flights, while all other factors had little impact on the occurrence of major dispersal flight events. However, both species shared similar temperature requirements for favorable dispersal flight conditions despite distinct peaks of activity over time. The analysis of sex ratios and average weights of the alates suggests that intrinsic colony factors are important for the timing of the maturation of alates, and that once a cohort of individuals is ready to disperse, a flight may occur as soon as the environmental conditions are favorable.
... Although some of the Ͼ3,000 species of termites (Engel 2011, Krishna et al. 2013) are beneÞcial to humans, a few are considered major pests (Evans et al. 2013). In the United States, the genera Reticulitermes (Austin et al. 2004), Coptotermes Scheffrahn 2000, Forschler et al. 2001), Heterotermes (Haverty et al. 1975, Atkinson et al. 1998, Incisitermes, and Cryptotermes (Messenger et al. 2002) are responsible for high management and damage costs. In 1990, assem-bling many studies regarding all the pest termite species, Su and Scheffrahn (2000) estimated the cost with termites, in the United States, to reach anywhere from US$100 million to US$3.4 billion per year. ...
... In addition to high humidity increasing the suitability of hotter climates, it is critical for the survival of alates and dealates because they are the stages least protected from luctuations in environmental conditions. In the United States, the Formosan subterranean termite has been reported in 11 states (Woodson et al. 2001; Schefrahn and Su 2005; Messenger et al. 2002; Hu and Oi 2004; Brown et al. 2007; Sun et al. 2007). Ongoing surveys indicate the FST distribution is spreading. ...
Article
Two subterranean termite species were subjected to combinations of six temperatures (10°, 15°, 20°, 25°, 30°, or 35°C) and five relative humidities (RH) (55, 65, 75, 85, or 99%) to determine optimum conditions for survival. When small groups of the Formosan subterranean termite Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki or the eastern subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) were exposed to all 30 combinations of temperature and RH, survival times were significantly influenced by temperature, RH, and their interaction. For both species, survival times were longest at low temperatures and high RH. Maximum survival of small groups of C. formosanus and R. flavipes workers and soldiers occurred at the combination of 10°C and 99% RH C (LT50= 28.2 d, LT50 = 18.1 d, respectively). Survival of paired C. formosanus dealates was evaluated at combinations of 20°, 25°, or 30°C and 55, 65, 75, 85, or 99% RH. Survival was strongly influenced by temperature and humidity. Longest survival times until 50% mortality occurred at 99% RH and 20° or 25°C (LT50= 2.5 d, LT50 = 3.0 d, respectively). At all temperatures, mortality occurred too quickly for LT50 values to be determined when RH was 55% or 65%.
... According to Sun et al. (2007), the four Mississippi counties inspected during this study were among the top five counties in the state for Formosan subterranean termite alate captures. Additionally, Formosan subterranean termites have been found in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana since the late 1980s (La Fage, 1987;Messenger et al., 2002). ...
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Both native and invasive subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), including the Formosan subterranean termite, are well known pests of urban areas, but little is known about their distribution or impact in forest ecosystems of the southeastern United States. Recently harvested timber stumps were mechanically inspected for the presence of subterranean termites in multiple locations across southern Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. A systematic line plot cruise with 100 × 200m spacing and 1/20th ha plots was implemented, and all stumps with a diameter greater than 7.6cm were inspected. In total, 7,413 stumps were inspected for the presence of subterranean termites, and 406 of those contained native subterranean termites (Reticulitermes spp.). Light traps were also placed at 8 sites to detect the presence of subterranean termite alates. While no invasive Formosan subterranean termites were found during mechanical inspection of tree stumps, alates were captured in light traps at three sites. The proportion of stumps infested with subterranean termites was negatively correlated with the number of stumps in each plot. Although 6.27% of pine stumps and 1.86% of hardwood stumps contained subterranean termites, no correlation was found between subterranean termite presence and type of stump (pine or hardwood) inspected. Subterranean termite presence in stumps ranged from 0.94% to 14.97% depending on site.
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The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, is a highly destructive pest and a cosmopolitan invasive species. Sustainable termite management methods have been improving with the search for novel insecticides that are effective, safe, and cost efficient. Menadione, also known as vitamin K3, is a synthetic analogue and biosynthetic precursor of vitamin K with low mammalian toxicity. Menadione has shown insecticidal activity in several insects, presumably due to interference with mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. However, little is known about its effectiveness against termites. In this study, we evaluated the toxicity and repellency of menadione in C. formosanus. Our results showed that menadione affected the survival and feeding activity of termites both in filter paper and substrate (sand) treatments, and menadione influenced termite tunneling activity in treated sand. In a no-choice assay, ≥90% mortality after seven days and minimal or no food consumption were recorded when sand was treated with menadione at 6 to 600 ppm. In a two-choice assay with a combination of treated and untreated sand, termites were deterred by menadione at 6 to 600 ppm and exhibited low mortality (≤30%) over seven days, while tunneling activity was prevented with 60 to 600 ppm of menadione treatment. Overall, our study demonstrated dose-dependent toxicity and repellency of menadione in C. formosanus. The potential use of menadione as an alternative termite control agent is discussed.
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Coptotermes formosanus, known in its native China as the ‘House White Ant’, was introduced to the southeast USA likely in the 1950s, where it is known as the Formosan subterranean termite. In the USA it is best known as a pest of buildings in urban areas, however C. formosanus also attacks live trees along streets and in urban parks, suggesting it may be able to invade forests in the USA. A survey of 113 forest patches around Charleston South Carolina and New Orleans Louisiana, where C. formosanus was first recorded, found that 37% and 52%, respectively, were infested. Resistograph measurement of internal hollows in tree trunks in forest patches infested with C. formosanus found infested sites contained more and larger hollows compared with non-infested sites. Compared with forest patches free of C. formosanus, infested patches had 32% more trees with hollows in Charleston, and 115% more in New Orleans. Similarly, compared with patches free of C. formosanus, hollows were 2–3 times larger in infested patches in Charleston, and 2–6 times larger in New Orleans. Quercus (oak) and Acer (maple) were the most damaged trees in Charleston, whereas Carya (bitternut hickory), Taxodium (bald cypress), Nyssa (blackgum) and Liquidamber (sweetgum) were the most damaged in New Orleans. As termite damaged trees are more likely to die, these differing damage levels between tree species suggests that C. formosanus may alter community structure in US forests.
Article
Two subterranean termite species were subjected to combinations of six temperatures (10°, 15°, 20°, 25°, 30°, or 35°C) and five relative humidities , or 99%) to determine optimum conditions for survival. When small groups of the Formosan subterranean termite Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki or the eastern subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) were exposed to all 30 combinations of temperature and RH, survival times were significantly influenced by temperature, RH, and their interaction. For both species, survival times were longest at low temperatures and high RH. Maximum survival of small groups of C. formosanus and R. flavipes workers and soldiers occurred at the combination of 10°C and 99% RH C (LT50= 28.2 d, LT50 = 18.1 d, respectively). Survival of paired C. formosanus dealates was evaluated at combinations of 20°, 25°, or 30°C and 55,65,75, 85 > or 99% RH. Survival was strongly influenced by temperature and humidity. Longest survival times until 50% mortality occurred at 99% RH and 20° or 25°C (LT50= 2.5 d, LT50 = 3.0 d, respectively). At all temperatures, mortality occurred too quickly for LT 50 values to be determined when RH was 55% or 65%.
Article
Describing desiccation stages based on the physical appearance of termites has not been evaluated previously. Formosan subterranean termites were studied to determine the rate of water loss, singly and in groups, in the laboratory. The stages of water loss are described based on changes in physical appearance and percent total body water loss evaluated at 2- to 8-h time intervals up to 32 h. Workers in groups lost water slower than individual worker trials. Weight loss was linear over time for worker groups and individuals, as was individual soldier only trials. Water loss in individual workers was significantly faster than in soldiers. Three physical stages of desiccation are described for living workers: (I) curling of antennae, (II) on back but with assistance able to right themselves and walk, and (III) unable to get off back; and two stages for living soldiers (II and III). Recovery was determined from termites in a second trial by transferring stage I, II, and III individuals from open, dry Petri dishes to those with moist filter paper at 4, 6, 10, 12, 14, 16, 24, 26 and 28 h. After 12 h on moist filter paper, stage I workers had a 83% recovery rate, stage II had a 33%, and stage III had a 7% recovery. Soldiers had a 56% recovery at stage II and was similar to the recovery of workers at stage III. Most termites that reached stage III were destined to die.
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A well-established infestation of the western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor (Hagen) (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae), was discovered in Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans, Louisiana. Colonies are present inside historical Perseverance Hall and in a dead limb of a nearby live Arizona ash tree. This is the first report of this species in Louisiana and the first report of a non-endemic drywood termite species infesting non-structural wood. We are grateful to E. S. Bordes and M. K. Carroll, City of New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board, for reviewing the manuscript. Partial funding for this project was provided by USDA-ARS under the grant agreement No. 58-6435-8-108. This article is Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No. R-06970.
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A total of 785 samples of termites was obtained from structures in central and southern Florida between February 1987 and March 1988. Eleven of the 15 termite species known from Florida were recorded including six drywood (Kalotermitidae) species and five subterranean (Rhinotermitidae) species. An unidentified species of Termitidae, new to Florida, was collected in St. Petersburg. The subterranean termites, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) and R. virginicus (Banks), accounted for 57% of the 716 survey samples identified to species, while the drywood termites, Cryptotermes brevis (Walker) and Incisitermes snyderi (Light), accounted for 36%. Flight seasons for various species were determined from alate collections. Fumigation for drywood termite control cost building owners in central and southern Florida ca. $30 million in 1987. /// Se obtuvieron un total de 785 muestras de termes de edificios en el centro y el sur de la Florida durante el periódo febrero de 1987 hasta marzo de 1988. Se registraron 11 de las 15 especies conocidas para la Florida, incluyendo 6 especies de termes de madera seca (Kalotermitidae) y 5 especies de termes subterráneos (Rhinotermitidae). Se colectó en St. Petersburg una especie desconocida de Termitidae la cual es nueva para la Florida. De las 716 muestras identificadas al nivel de especie, 57% fueron termes subterráneos, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) y R. virginicus (Banks), mientras las especies Cryptotermes brevis (Walker) y Incisitermes snyderi (Light) constituyeron la mayoría de los termes de madera seca y el 36% de los ejemplares. Se determinaron por ejemplares de termes aladas los vuelos estacionales de varias especies. La fumigación para el control de los termes de madera seca les costó a los dueños de edificios en el centro y el sur de la Florida cerca de $30 millones en 1987.
Article
Eight species of termites are now recorded from South Carolina. Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) and R. virginicus (Banks) were the two most abundant subterranean species (Rhinotermitidae), each distributed throughout the state. Reticulitermes hageni (Banks) was distributed sporadically over the state, with records from six counties. Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki was found primarily in Charleston County, but new records extended the range to Beaufort, Dorchester, Berkeley, and Orangeburg Counties. Drywood termites (Kalotermitidae) were not encountered as frequently as subterranean species. Cryptotermes brevis (Walker) was recorded in seven counties throughout the state, Incisitermes snyderi (Light) was found in seven coastal counties and once in Pickens County, which is inland. Kalotermes approximatus (Snyder) was recorded primarily from natural habitats in 18 counties, and a western drywood species, Incisitermes minor (Hagen), was collected from Greenville and Beaufort Counties, representing a state record.
Article
Deliberate surveys and submitted samples have yielded five termite species not previously recorded from Georgia including Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Family Rhinotermitidae), and Calcaritermes nearcticus (Snyder), Cryptotermes brevis (Walker), Incisitermes minor (Hagen), and Kalotermes approximatus Snyder (Family Kalotermitidae) bringing the total number of termite species in Georgia to nine. Coptotermes formosanus, C. brevis, and I. minor are all non-endemic pest species in Georgia. The Georgia records for C. nearcticus are the first outside of Florida and represent new northern limits, while collections of K. approximatus bridge a former gap in its north-south distribution. Previous records for Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), R. hageni Banks, and R. virginicus (Banks) (Family Rhinotermitidae), and Incisitermes snyderi (Light) (Kalotermitidae) are confirmed, while the name R. malletei is relegated to nomen nudum status. The prospects for additional termite records and status of Reticulitermes taxonomy in Georgia are discussed.
Article
Illustrated identification keys are presented for soldiers and winged adults of the following 17 termite species known from Florida: Calcaritermes nearcticus Snyder, Neotermes castaneus (Burmeister), N. jouteli (Banks), N. luykxi Nickle and Collins, Kalotermes approximatus Snyder, Incisitermes milleri (Emerson), I. minor (Hagen), I. schwarzi (Banks), I. snyderi (Light), Cryptotermes brevis (Walker), and C. cavifrons Banks, Family Kalotermitidae; Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), R. hageni Banks, R. virginicus (Banks), and Prorhinotermes simplex (Hagen), Family Rhinotermitidae; and Amitermes floridensis Scheffrahn, Mangold, & Su, Family Termitidae. /// Se presentan claves ilustradas de identificacion para los soldados y los adultos con alas de las 17 especies de termes conocidas de la Florida, U.S.A.: Calcaritermes nearcticus (Snyder), Neotermes castaneus (Burmeister), N. jouteli (Banks), N. luykxi Nickle y Collins, Kalotermes approximatus Snyder, Incisitermes milleri (Emerson), I. minor (Hagen), I. schwarzi (Banks), I. snyderi (Light), Cryptotermes brevis (Walker), y C. cavifrons Banks, Familia Kalotermitidae; Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), R. hageni Banks, R. virginicus (Banks), y Prorhinotermes simplex (Hagen), Familia Rhinotermitidae; y Amitermes floridensis Scheffrahn, Mangold, y Su, Familia Termitidae.
Article
Measurements of pronotal width, broadest gular width, and labral length of Reticulitermes soldiers collected in San Felasco State Preserve, Florida, showed considerable intracolony variation and interspecific overlap. The termites collected did not differ in size from termites collected state wide. The reported 0.81 mm pronotal width threshold failed to separate soldiers of R. flavipes from R. virginicus. An average pronotal width measurement (n<5) ≥ 0.90 mm denotes R. flavipes, ≤ 0.70 mm R. hageni, and 0.71 - 0.80 mm R. virginicus. A threshold at 0.85 mm (n>5) separates R. flavipes from R. virginicus. A new character, labral shape, was found to be very reliable for separating the three species. /// Las medidas del ancho pronotal, máximo ancho gular y longitud del labrum de soldados de Reticulitermes, celectados en la Reserva Estatal de San Felasco en Florida, mostraron considerable variación y sobreposición interspecífica. Las termitas colectadas no presentaron diferencia en tamaño de aquellas celectadas en el resto del estado. La medida del ancho pronotal registrado de 0.81 mm como limite para separar los soldados de R. flavipes de R. virginicus, no fue de utilidad. El promedio de las medidas del ancho pronotal (n>5) ≥ 0.9 mm hace referencia a R. flavipes, ≤ 0.7 mm a R. hageni, 0.71 - 0.80 mm a R. virginicus, y un límite de 0.85 mm (n>5) separa R. flavipes de R. virginicus. Un nuevo carácter encontrado, la forma del labrum, fué muy confiable para separar las 3 especies.
Life history of Kalotermes minor
  • P A Harvey
HARVEY, P. A. 1934. Life history of Kalotermes minor, pp. 217-233. In C. A. Kofoid, S. F. Light, A. C. Horner, M. Randall, W. B. Herms, and E. E. Bowe [eds.] Termites and termite control. 2nd ed. University of California Press, Berkeley. 795 pp.
The geographical distribution of the termite genera Reticulitermes, Coptotermes, and Incisitermes in Texas
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HOWELL, H. N., P. J. HAMAN, AND T. A. GRANOVSKY. 1987. The geographical distribution of the termite genera Reticulitermes, Coptotermes, and Incisitermes in Texas. Southwest. Entomol. 12: 119-125.
Practical considerations of the Formosan subterranean termite in Louisiana: a 30-year problem
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La Fage, J. P. 1987. Practical considerations of the Formosan subterranean termite in Louisiana: a 30-year problem. pp. 37-42. In M. Tamashiro and N.-Y. Su [eds.], Biology and control of the Formosan subterranean termite. College of Trop. Agr. Human Resources, Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI.