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Field Attraction of Termites to a Carbon Dioxide-Generating Bait in Australia (Isoptera)



termite bait stations with or without a cO2-generating bait (Focus termite Attractant, produced by Brotica, Inc., Fort collins, colorado, and distributed by Ensystex Australasia) were tested at tree and house locations in Australia. The termite species Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) (Isoptera: rhinoter - mitidae), Schedorhinotermes intermedius (Brauer) (Isoptera: rhinotermitidae), Microcerotermes turneri (Froggatt) (Isoptera: termitidae), and Nasutitermes exitiosus (Hill) (Isoptera: termitidae) discovered more monitoring stations when the cO2-generating bait was present, and also discovered the monitor - ing stations more quickly when the c O2-generating bait was present.
Field Attraction of Termites to a Carbon Dioxide-Generating
Bait in Australia (Isoptera)
Steve Broadbent1, Michael Farr2, Elisa J. Bernklau3, Matthew S. Siderhurst4, David
M. James5, & Louis B. Bjostad5
Termite bait stations with or without a CO2-generating bait (Focus Termite
Attractant, produced by Brotica, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado, and distributed
by Ensystex Australasia) were tested at tree and house locations in Australia.
e termite species Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) (Isoptera: Rhinoter-
mitidae), Schedorhinotermes intermedius (Brauer) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae),
Microcerotermes turneri (Froggatt) (Isoptera: Termitidae), and Nasutitermes
exitiosus (Hill) (Isoptera: Termitidae) discovered more monitoring stations
when the CO2-generating bait was present, and also discovered the monitor-
ing stations more quickly when the CO2-generating bait was present.
e economic impact of termites may exceed $11 billion each year in the
United States (Su 2002) and $40 billion worldwide (Wiseman & Eggleton
1994). e majority of damage to homes and other structures is caused by
subterranean termite species in the family Rhinotermitidae (Su 1990).
Baiting strategies for termite control have recently gained popularity due
to the withdrawal of chlordane, chlorpyrifos and other termiticides from
the market (Kard 1999, Su & Scherahn 2000). Current eorts are focused
on improving specic aspects of these systems, including the addition of at-
tractants and/or bait enhancers (Pawson & Gold 1996, Lewis et al. 1998,
Potter et al. 2001, Lax & Osbrink 2003). In a baiting system, the pesticide
is typically introduced into a station only aer termites are detected in that
1Ensystex Australasia
2Amalgamated Pest Control, ueensland, Australia
3Brotica, Inc., Fort Collins, CO
4Dept. of Chemistry, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
5Dept. of Bioagric. Sci. & Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523
2 Sociobiology Vol. 48, No. 3, 2006
station, and depending on the species, weeks may pass before termites locate
a station and begin to feed (Lewis et al. 1998, Potter et al. 2001).
Baiting has been promoted as a more desirable method of termite manage-
ment. It is generally considered to more environmentally sound as baiting
uses very small amounts of insect specic toxicants that are administered
in stations that are targeted at the economically important termite species
only (i.e., it replaces the broad-scale application of liquid chemicals used to
poison the soil around a building). For baiting to work successfully, termites
must nd the bait stations so that the matrix with toxicant can be added for
termite consumption and transfer it back to the nest. ese requirements
are important, and a successful baiting program can take up to nine months
(e.g. 3-9 months Su, 1994; 7 months Tsunoda et al., 1998; 3-7+ months Su
& Scherahn, 2000), which is much slower than by other methods.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been reported as an attractant for the termite
species Reticulitermes avipes (Kollar) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), R. vir-
ginicus (Banks) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), and R. tibialis (Banks) (Isoptera:
Rhinotermitidae) in the United States (Bernklau et al. 2005). e most at-
tractive concentration of CO2 is 5 mmol/mol for R. tibialis and 10 mmol/mol
for R. avipes and R. virginicus. An attractant such as CO2 has the potential
to improve the eectiveness of termite baiting systems by reducing the time
interval between station placement and introduction of the pesticide.
Focus Termite Attractant (produced by Brotica, Inc., Fort Collins, Colo-
rado, and distributed by Ensystex Australasia) is a granular formulation that
reacts in soil to generate CO2 in the optimum concentration range for termite
attraction (Bernklau et al. 2005). Focus Termite Attractant is a non-toxic
formulation composed of natural materials, and it contains no pesticidal
components. We tested Focus Termite Attractant in combination with
Exterra uarterra Termite Stations (Ensystex Australasia) to determine the
ability of the attractant to enhance the ecacy of bait stations by creating a
larger ‘footprint’ for termite discovery. Specically, we were interested in three
ecological eects, (i) the time required for station discovery, (ii) the number
of stations discovered, and (iii) the rate at which stations were abandoned
by termites.
Broadbent, S. et al. — Attraction of Termites to a Carbon Dioxide in Australia
Trial sites were established in the vicinity of known termite activity and/
or colonies of the species Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) (Isoptera:
Rhinotermitidae), Schedorhinotermes intermedius (Brauer) (Isoptera: Rhi-
notermitidae), Microcerotermes turneri (Froggatt) (Isoptera: Termitidae) in
ueensland, Australia, and Nasutitermes exitiosus (Hill) (Isoptera: Termi-
tidae) in New South Wales, Australia. Exterra uarterra Termite Stations
(Ensystex Australasia) were placed equidistant around the termite colonies
in holes 10 cm diameter by 20 cm deep, prepared using a Jarrett auger. Due
to the dry conditions encountered, the soil around each hole was moistened
with 100 ml water. For the CO2-baited stations, Focus Termite Attractant
granules (5 g) were added to each hole prior to station placement. A minimum
distance of three meters was maintained between any control station and
any Focus-treated station to minimise the chance of the CO2 gradient from
a Focus-treated station impacting the results at a control station. Stations
were inspected weekly for the presence of termites. Each station contained
six Eucalyptus delegatensis R. T. Baker timber interceptors for feeding by the
Coptotermes acinaciformis
ree colonies of C. acinaciformis were located in trees in a residential
park in Deception Bay, ueensland. Four control and four Focus Termite
Attractant stations were placed on either side of each colony. Stations were
placed in a line running east to west with one meter between each series of
four stations on either side, and four meters separating the line of control
stations from the line of Focus Termite Attractant stations. At two trees the
control stations were placed to the north of the colony and at one tree they
were placed to the south of the colony.
Schedorhinotermes intermedius
A domestic residence in a leafy suburb in Upper Caboolture, ueensland,
was selected due to the known long-standing presence of S. intermedius in
the garden. Evidence of Schedorhinotermes activity was noted in the garden
though no termites could be located. Stations were placed at three meter
intervals around the home. Sides were selected randomly, two sides with
Focus Termite Attractant stations and two with control stations. Nine sta-
tions for each treatment were placed.
4 Sociobiology Vol. 48, No. 3, 2006
Microcerotermes turneri
An inspection also revealed the presence of Microcerotermes turneri in
a timber gate post at the front of the same property in Upper Caboolture,
ueensland. Four stations were placed, two on the nature strip and two
in the front garden, equidistant at 1.5 meters from the post infested with
Microcerotermes, with three meters between the control and Focus Termite
Attractant stations.
Nasutitermes exitiosus
A mound of N. exitiosus was located in a garden bed at a domestic residence
in Maitland, New South Wales. Six Focus Termite Attractant stations and
six control stations were placed on either side of the mound.
Statistical Analysis
T-tests were used to analyze dierences in termite presence among stations
that contained or lacked CO2 baits (SAS 2000).
Exterra uarterra Termite Stations containing Focus Termite Attractant
were located more oen and also more quickly than control stations for the
four termite species that were tested (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, Table 4).
Coptotermes acinaciformis
Termites were found signicantly more oen in Focus-baited stations than
in control stations (Table 1, P<0.05, t-test). Termites located 10 of the 13
Focus-baited stations, but only located 3 of the 13 control stations (Table
1). Over the course of the 9 week study, termites were found in Focus-baited
stations on 68 occasions, but termites were found in control stations on
only 12 occasions (Table 1). Two of the Focus-baited stations were found
by termites within the rst week aer installation, but none of the control
stations were located by termites until 4 weeks aer installation. On average,
of the stations located by termites, Focus-baited stations were found aer 3.20
+SE 0.57 weeks, but control stations were found only aer 6.00 +SE 1.15
weeks. None of the stations were abandoned by termites once the termites
were rst observed in them.
Schedorhinotermes intermedius
Broadbent, S. et al. — Attraction of Termites to a Carbon Dioxide in Australia
A Focus-baited station was the only station found to contain termites in
this test, and none of the 9 control stations were located by termites (Table
2). e Focus-baited station was located in Week 2 aer the stations were
installed. In Week 8 aer the experiment began, this station was found to
have been ooded by a broken pipe, and subsequent data was not available.
e station had not been abandoned as of the last reliable observation in
Week 7.
Microcerotermes turneri
A Focus-baited station was the only station found to contain termites in
this test, and neither of the 2 control stations were located by termites (Table
3). e Focus-baited station was located in Week 1 aer the stations were
Nasutitermes exitiosus
Table 1. Termite bait stations containing Coptotermes acinaciformis.
Stations Site Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9
CO2 bait Tree 1 - - X X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 1 - - - X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 1 X X X X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 1 - - X X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 2 - - X X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 2 - X X X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 2 - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait Tree 2 - - - - X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 3 - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait Tree 3 - - X X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 3 - - - - - - X X X
CO2 bait Tree 3 X X X X X X X X X
CO2 bait Tree 4 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 1 - - - - - - - X X
Control Tree 1 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 1 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 1 - - - X X X X X X
Control Tree 2 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 2 - - - - - X X X X
Control Tree 2 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 2 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 3 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 3 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 3 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 3 - - - - - - - - -
Control Tree 4 - - - - - - - - -
6 Sociobiology Vol. 48, No. 3, 2006
A heavy infestation of termites was recorded in one of the Focus Termite
Attractant stations 16 days aer installation (Table 4). A light infestation of
termites was recorded in one of the control stations on the same date. Further
inspections each week thereaer revealed that the termites remained in the
Focus Termite Attractant station, but the termites vacated the control station
the week aer they were detected and did not return. Aer six inspections,
the trial was terminated to allow elimination of the termite colony and safe-
guard the property.
Table 2. Termite bait stations containing Schedorhinotermes intermedius.
Stations Site Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House - X X X X X X N/Aa N/Aa
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
a In Week 8 aer the experiment began, this station was found to have been ooded by
a broken pipe.
Table 3. Termite bait stations containing Microcerotermes turneri.
Stations Site Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9
CO2 bait House - - - - - - - - -
CO2 bait House X X X X X X X X X
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Control House - - - - - - - - -
Broadbent, S. et al. — Attraction of Termites to a Carbon Dioxide in Australia
We conclude that the CO2 gradient from each Focus-baited station eec-
tively created a larger ‘footprint’, and that the termites then followed the CO2
gradient to the station. For the four termite species tested, the presence of
Focus Termite Attractant in Exterra uarterra Termite Stations increased the
number of stations that were found by termites. Termites did not abandon
any of the bait stations once they located them, whether baited with Focus
Termite Attractant or not, except for one of the control bait stations that
was abandoned by Nasutitermes exitiosus aer a single week of occupancy
(Table 4).
e presence of Focus Termite Attractant also decreased the time required
for termites to discover the stations. is point is of particular interest in the
development of baiting system technologies, because it has been observed that
weeks may pass before termites locate a bait station and begin to feed (Lewis
et al. 1998, Potter et al. 2001). In the present study, two of the termite spe-
cies located Focus-baited stations within the rst week aer installation (C.
acinaciformis and Microcerotermes turneri), and the other two termite species
located the Focus-baited stations within the second week aer installation
(N. exitiosus and Schedorhinotermes intermedius). In contrast, control sta-
tions were never observed to contain termites for two of the species tested
(Schedorhinotermes intermedius. and Microcerotermes turneri), and required
a minimum of 2-4 weeks for the two termite species that did nd them (C.
Table 4. Termite bait stations containing Nasutitermes exitiosus.
Stations Site Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
CO2 bait Mound - X X X X X
CO2 bait Mound - - - - - -
CO2 bait Mound - - - - - -
CO2 bait Mound - - - - - -
CO2 bait Mound - - - - - -
CO2 bait Mound - - - - - -
Control Mound - - - - - -
Control Mound - - - - - -
Control Mound - - - - - -
Control Mound - - - - - -
Control Mound - - - - - -
Control Mound - X - - - -
8 Sociobiology Vol. 48, No. 3, 2006
acinaciformis and N. exitiosus).
e use of Focus Termite Attractant in association with Exterra uarterra
Termite Stations will provide added benets to pest managers using the
Exterra Termite Interception & Baiting System by detecting the presence
of termites within the vicinity of a property sooner. Early interception in a
Station further reduces the risk of termites entering a structure and enables
earlier placement of Requiem Termite Bait. Previous data has shown termites
are more likely to discover the Exterra uarterra Stations compared to other
commercial Stations due to the larger size and use of a more favored timber
source for the interceptors. Focus Termite Attractant will further enhance
the benets of the uarterra Stations.
Matthew Camper assisted with the statistical analysis using SAS 2000.
is assistance is gratefully acknowledged.
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... Suran and Rust [22] reported that 3% xylose in the food (paper discs) significantly increased the intake and horizontal transfer of hexaflumuron among individuals of Reticulitermes hesperus Banks, and caused significantly higher termite mortality than that of hexaflumuron alone. Other reported termite attractants include wood-rotting and soil fungi [23][24][25][26][27], decayed wood extract [28], carbon dioxide [29,30], clay materials [11,31,32], and even some sport drinks [33]. ...
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Baiting is one of the main methods to control subterranean termites. Many previous studies showed that subterranean termites avoid making tunnels within dry soil and feeding on dry wood, which may decrease bait infestation and consumption in drought areas. Super absorbent polymers are a group of materials that can retain large amounts of water and improve the moisture content of soil and bait matrices, and therefore may attract termites. In the present study, choice tests were conducted in the laboratory to investigate the aggregation and feeding behaviors of Formosan subterranean termites, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, in response to the three super absorbent polymers-sodium polyacrylate (Na-PAM), potassium polyacrylate (K-PAM), and poly(acrylamide-co-acrylic acid) potassium salt (P(AM/AA))-that were either placed within soil or filled in the void volume of baiting containers. Under dry-soil (30%-moisture) conditions, termites consumed significantly more wood in the chambers where super absorbent polymers were buried than in the control chambers (super absorbent polymer was not placed within soil). In addition, Na-PAM placed within dry soil significantly increased termite aggregation compared with the control chambers. However, no aggregation or feeding preference was detected when super absorbent polymers were placed within wet soil (60%-moisture). Also, filling super absorbent polymers into the void volume of baiting containers did not attract termites, whether the soil was dry or wet. Our study showed that placing super absorbent polymers within soil around bait stations may increase bait consumption by subterranean termites in drought locations.
... Damp wood gives off CO 2 , and this gas is a metabolic by-product of some wood degraders. A number of termite species were found to be attracted to higher levels of CO 2 and followed CO 2 gradi- ents to their source in the field and laboratory settings ( Bernklau et al. 2005;Broadbent et al. 2006). Waller et al. (1999) simulated the by-products of wood deg- radation by fungi by drenching soil with sucrose and yeast or urea and tested the effects of these treatments on termite foraging behavior. ...
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Subterranean termites tunnel through soil to locate new food sources, an energetically expensive process. The use of efficient search patterns and food location cues reduce the cost of foraging. Once arriving at a potential food source, termites assess its quality using a different set of cues. These types of cues could affect recruitment and colony health and survival. This chapter reviews what is known about the foraging process of subterranean wood-feeding termites, a group that contains a number of economically important pests. It summarizes what is known about search patterns used by these termites and the role of food location cues to effectively reach a viable food source. This chapter also discusses what is known about wood preference and how different components of wood such as density, secondary metabolites, nutrients, and other factors affect food selection in subterranean wood-feeding termites.
... Six termite interceptors (Eucalyptus delegatensis, 175 mm ´36.5 mḿ 5 mm) lined the outer wall of the IGS allowing for simple termite detection during monitoring and the addition of bait matrix without disturbing the termites. The IGS were installed (with Focus Termite Attractant [Broadbent et al., 2006] in Botswana) using a soil auger to monitor and aggregate foraging termites. A damp bait matrix was added to IGS when termite activity was discovered. ...
... Clay caused termites to aggregate, supporting our clay attraction hypothesis. Many attractants to termites, such as amino acids, sugars and carbon dioxide, have been reported (Chen & Henderson, 1996;Waller & Curtis, 2003;Bernklau et al., 2005;Saran & Rust, 2005;Broadbent et al., 2006;Wallace & Judd, 2010;Castillo et al., 2013). A variety of wood decaying fungi, including the brown-rot fungi and blue-stain fungi, can also increase attractiveness of food sources to termites (Esenther et al., 1961;French, 1978;Gao et al., 1987;Li et al., 2001;Cornelius et al., 2004;Little et al., 2012aLittle et al., ,b, 2013. ...
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Although preference and utilization of clay have been studied in many higher termites, little attention has been paid to lower termites, especially subterranean termites. The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, can modify its habitat by using clay to fill tree cavities. Here, the biological significance of clay on C. formosanus was investigated. Choice tests showed that significantly more termites aggregated in chambers where clay blocks were provided, regardless of colony group, observation period, or nutritional condition (fed or starved). No-choice tests showed that clay had no observable effect on survivorship, live or dry biomass, water content, and tunneling activity after 33-35 d. However, clay appeared to significantly decrease filter paper consumption (dry weight loss). Active particle (sand, paper, and clay) transport behavior was observed in both choice and no-choice tests. When present, clay was preferentially spread on the substrate, attached to the smooth surfaces of the containers, and used to line sand tunnels. Mechanisms and potential application of clay attraction are discussed.
... Mention of a commercial or proprietary product does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the USDA. Food Source (Cornelius and Lax 2005) and a carbon dioxide lure, Interval33 (Bernklau et al. 2005, Broadbent et al. 2006, increased the rate of termite infestation of stations with the products compared with stations without the products. In addition, there are reports that the use of a sports drink can increase infestation of baits by subterranean termites (Cabrera andThoms 2006, Getty et al. 2007). ...
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Field tests of four different bait supplements were conducted in City Park, New Orleans, LA. The four bait supplements tested included two different formulations of decayed material, a sports drink, and the combination of an application of an aqueous solution of Summon Preferred Food Source disks with the disk itself. Although all the bait supplements in this study resulted in a slightly greater number of treated stations discovered compared with control stations, only the application of the aqueous solution combined with the disk caused a significant increase in the number of stations discovered by termites. This treatment resulted in a significantly greater rate of discovery of treated stations versus control stations after only 14 d in the field. Termites were able to discover six times as many treated as control stations after 14 d, 9 times as many after 28 d, and 12 times as many after 42 d. These findings provide evidence that the diffusion of an aqueous solution into the soil underneath monitoring stations significantly decreased the length of time required for termites to infest stations.
This review aims to draw the attention of researchers, ecologists and farmers to the threats of soil‐dwelling insect pests on important tree crops in sub‐Saharan Africa, with a special focus on termites. It synthesizes the information on the effects of various factors affecting soil pest occurrence and damage, suggesting that the resultant undesirable effects of soil pests in this region are largely as a result of indiscriminate tree cutting, slash‐and‐burn agriculture and indiscriminate use of pesticides. Major insect orders, their host ranges and the nature of damage on selected tree crops are described. This study further critiques existing soil pest management practices, showing that majority of soil pest management practices are ineffective. Thus, management strategies like “attract and kill” approach based on entomopathogenic fungi need to be studied, developed and emphasized for the management of soil insect pests in sub‐Saharan Africa. A conclusion section attempts to offer suggestions for ways in which future work on soil pests in sub‐Saharan Africa could proceed.
Termite baiting is now one of the two main management tools in developed countries after 20 years of commercial release. It has two main goals: to use small amounts of active ingredient and ‘colony elimination’, viz. death of all individuals in the colony. We consider how well baiting has been evaluated from 100 studies in the scientific literature. Studies have included 15 active ingredients, 23 termite species and 16 countries, yet most studies were of the chitin synthesis inhibitor hexaflumuron, Reticulitermes, and the USA. Baiting has mostly met its goals: typically about 0.5 gram of active ingredient was used; and colony elimination achieved, albeit rates varied from 0-100%, and were sometimes supplemented with liquid insecticide. Baiting was most successful using chitin synthesis inhibitors against Reticulitermes and Coptotermes (Rhinotermitidae), in temperate locations, although colony elimination was usually inferred indirectly - mostly by termite absence from baits - and was often slow, from 25 to 450 days. Baiting has been less tested and less successful against higher termites in tropical locations, where they are most diverse and abundant. Future research may have to consider greater termite species diversity and other active ingredients to reduce control times to fulfil the potential of baiting.
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The termite Nasutitermes corniger is attracted to weathered wood, but it is not known whether this attraction is of chemical or physical nature. This work examines whether wood extracts can change the attraction of N. corniger to a food substrate. In a first experiment, filter paper impregnated with a eucalyptus extract, Eucalyptus grandis, and another one with a solvent were placed in the foraging arena of N. corniger nests under laboratory conditions. The extracts used were from weathered or unweathered wood. During the second experiment, two tests were performed using eucalyptus wood. First, a piece of unweathered wood was impregnated with an extract of weathered wood (treatment) or solvent (control). In the second test, a piece of weathered wood was impregnated with an extract of unweathered wood (treatment) and another one with solvent (control). At the end of the tests, the number of termite recruitment on each substrate was quantified. Filter paper recruited more termites when treated with unweathered wood extracts or with extracts of weathered wood than when impregnated with the solvent. Unweathered wood treated with extracts of weathered wood recruited more termites than the control. However, weathered wood impregnated with extracts of unweathered wood recruited similar numbers of termites as the same wood impregnated with the solvent. It was verified that chemicals from weathered or unweathered wood increased the foraging activity of N. corniger in neutral substrates, but only chemicals from weathered wood altered the attraction of N. corniger to eucalyptus wood.
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This study examined the effects of water soluble chemicals from an aqueous extract of Summon Preferred Food Source disks and from a sports drink, Gatorade™, on the feeding and tunneling behavior of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki. Both the Summon extract and Gatorade™ significantly increased the rate of tunneling in treated sand. The Summon extract had a stronger effect on the rate of tunneling than Gatorade. In both choice and no-choice tests, there was significantly more feeding on wood blocks in the containers with sand moistened with water than in containers with Gatorade™-treated sand. Summon extract-treated sand had no effect on consumption of wood blocks. In experiments where sand was dyed with solutions of Nile Blue A, termites were more likely to become blue when sand was dyed with a Gatorade™/Nile Blue A solution than when sand was dyed with Nile Blue A dissolved in water or in the Summon extract. These results suggest that termites were ingesting the Gatorade™, but not the Summon extract. Termites were less likely to feed on wood blocks when sand was treated with Gatorade™, presumably because they were able to obtain some nourishment from the Gatorade™. Increasing our understanding of how water soluble chemicals influence the foraging behavior of Formosan subterranean termites will enhance our ability to use attractants and feeding stimulants more effectively to improve the efficacy of commercial bait products.
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Of the more than 2,300 termite species in the world, 183 species are known to damage buildings and 83 species cause significant damage. Subterranean termites, including mound building and arboreal species, account for 147 (80%) of the economically important species. The genus Coptotermes contains the largest number of pest species (28), whereas the genus Cryptotermes, especially Cr. brevis, is the most widely introduced. The world-wide economic impact figure of termites is uncertain, but the control cost for termite pests in the United States was estimated at $1.5 billion annually in 1994. Because of differences in their life histories, control measures differ between subterranean and drywood species. Insecticide barriers are used for exclusion of soil-borne subterranean termites, whereas slow-acting baits are used for population control of subterranean termite colonies in and near structures. Whole-structure treatments (fumigation and heat), compartmental treatments (heat or cold), and local treatments (wood surface treatments or insecticide injection) are the primary tools for drywood termite control.
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When building repair cost is included, the economic impacts of termites may reach up to $11 billion annually the United States. The dollar amount spent on termite control will continue to grow as the living standard in developing countries is improved and more termite pest species are transported by human commerce. Currently-registered soil termiticides include chlorpyrifos, permethrin, cypermethrin, bifenthrin, fenvalerate, imidacloprid, and fipronil. Physical barriers such as stainless-steel mesh and soil particle barriers are also available but have yet to see widespread use; while insecticide-impregnated polymer barriers may become available in the near future. Aside from these barrier techniques, population control using baits have become more widely adopted by the industry in recent years. Baits containing hexaflumuron, sulfluramid, or diflubenzuron are currently available for the pest control industry. As evidenced from these developments, future technologies need to conform to efficacy and environmental standards. It is no longer satisfactory to rely merely on barriers for structural protection from subterranean termites, and future control measures need to address structure protection through population management of subterranean termites (i.e., baits). It will probably become less acceptable to spray a large quantity of insecticide in soil to protect a house from subterranean termites, and future technologies need to use less pesticide (i.e., baits), no pesticide at all (i.e., physical barriers), or controlled-release pesticide barriers (i.e., insecticide-impregnated polymer).
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The first appearance of live termites or feeding damage in previously reported subterranean termite monitor designs occur within several months of installation and involves <15% of the total number of monitors. The ability of monitors to sustain subterranean termite foraging often is less than 50%. The design of the monitor used for this study, featuring above and below ground sections, sustained subterranean termite foraging for over 80% of monitors for both wildland and residential sites for at least 2 years. The monitor is robust and can accommodate seasonal fluctuation in termite foraging activity. The modifications of this monitor and possible underlying mechanisms for increased sustainability of termite foraging are compared to already described collecting devices utilizing wooden stakes, toilet paper, corrugated paper, and below-ground monitoring systems.
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A baiting procedure that incorporated a matrix containing a chitin synthesis inhibitor, hexaflumuron, was evaluated against field colonies of the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), and the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki. Wooden stakes were first driven into the soil to detect the presence of termites. Bait tubes were placed in soil where termites were detected. A self-recruiting procedure, in which termites collected from wooden stakes were forced to tunnel through the matrix in the bait tubes, significantly increased bait intake by termites. Approximately 4-1,500 mg of hexaflumuron was needed for 90-100% reduction of field populations containing 0.17-2.8 million foragers per colony.
Two baits, hydramethylnon (American Cyanamid Company) and hexaflumuron (DowElanco - Sentricon Colony Elimination System®), were evaluated for the control of subterranean termites in Texas. Hydramethylnon bait was tested for one year at four structures infested with subterranean termites. Control of termites was not achieved; however, colony suppression, as indicated by the number of wood stakes attacked by termites, may have occurred at two locations. Hexaflumuron bait was tested for two years at seven structures infested with subterranean termites. Control of termites occurred at one location where more than 17 Baitubes® were consumed. Colony suppression, as indicated by the number of monitoring stations attacked by termites, appears to have occurred at two structures. With both hydramethylnon and hexaflumuron, lack of termite activity at bait stations might indicate a reduction in colony population size (or elimination); however, independent monitoring stations (wooden stakes and wood blocks) used during these tests indicated that termites were present even though termites were not detected in the bait stations.
Wooden stakes and commercial Sentricon stations (Dow Agro-Sciences, Indianapolis, IN) were used to monitor seasonal activity and foraging location of Reticulitermes spp.(Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), around 46 residential structures in Kentucky. Termite activity in below-ground monitors was highest from spring through fall, with little activity during winter. Although certain parameters of the landscape (e.g., shade, ground cover) were associated with a higher incidence of attack, results were inconsistent, suggesting that commercial bait installers will have difficulty predicting where termites are located underground. The findings also bring into question whether it is advisable to selectively install below-ground monitors around houses in areas arbitrarily deemed 'conducive' to termite foraging. Established structural infestations of subterranean termites were, by visual determination, eliminated from 21 of 23 houses using hexaflumuron bait and the Sentricon® Colony Elimination System. De-infestation of one house was further confirmed by monitoring with an acoustic emission detector. The structures were subsequently protected for more than 3 years by monitoring and re-baiting as needed.
A natural colony of Reticulitermes speratus (Kolbe), the foraging population and territory of which had been estimated previously by a triple mark-recapture program at the Uji campus of Kyoto University, was used to determine the effect of bait applications. Bait stations and bait tubes containing hexaflumuron were placed in the foraging territory in October 1995 to eradicate the colony. The number of monitoring stations with foraging termites decreased after May 1996 and no attack was observed by July 1996. Because a later inspection in October 1996 demonstrated no further termite attacks of monitoring stations in the foraging territory, the colony that was composed originally of >300,000 foraging termites was considered to be eliminated by bait application. Approximately 33 mg of hexaflumuron was consumed by the colony. Ten months after the end of bait application (May 1997) some termites were present at 3 monitoring stations in the foraging territory of the eradicated colony. Reinfestation of a few more stations was found after June 1997. Because no marked termite individuals were recaptured from any station in the foraging territory of the test colony after elimination by baitings, it was impossible to determine whether this group of termites belonged to the original colony or came from a separate colony. Our results supggest limited applicability of mark-release-recapture methodology to determine colony eradication of R. speratus based on the presence or absence of marked termites.
A sensor consisting of a wooden monitor painted with a conductive circuit of silver particle emulsion was placed in a monitoring station to detect feeding activity of the subterranean termite Coptotermes havilandi Holmgren. Sensor accuracy was 100% 1 mo after installation, but 9 mo after sensor placement, the rate declined to 73%. After the detection of C. havilandi in the stations, baits containing the chitin synthesis inhibitor hexaflumuron were applied in five colonies, and four colonies were eliminated within 3-5 mo. Baiting could not be completed for the remaining one colony because the site became inaccessible.
The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki is currently one of the most destructive pests in the USA. It is estimated to cost consumers over US dollars 1 billion annually for preventative and remedial treatment and to repair damage caused by this insect. The mission of the Formosan Subterranean Termite Research Unit of the Agricultural Research Service is to demonstrate the most effective existing termite management technologies, integrate them into effective management systems, and provide fundamental problem-solving research for long-term, safe, effective and environmentally friendly new technologies. This article describes the epidemiology of the pest and highlights the research accomplished by the Agricultural Research Service on area-wide management of the termite and fundamental research on its biology that might provide the basis for future management technologies. Fundamental areas that are receiving attention are termite detection, termite colony development, nutrition and foraging, and the search for biological control agents. Other fertile areas include understanding termite symbionts that may provide an additional target for control. Area-wide management of the termite by using population suppression rather than protection of individual structures has been successful; however, much remains to be done to provide long-term sustainable population control. An educational component of the program has provided reliable information to homeowners and pest-control operators that should help slow the spread of this organism and allow rapid intervention in those areas which it infests.