more on the bait and Operation FullStop in Agricultural Research.
Termites Go Hungry on Resistant Trees By
October 12, 2000
Service scientists in New Orleans, La., have identified 30 types of
commercial lumber that attract or repel Formosan subterranean termites,
painting a more complete picture of where this invasive pest species is likely
to turn up in processed wood.
In termite-plagued Louisiana, for example, builders could use the
information to select lumber--such as Western red cedar or Alaskan yellow
cedar--thats less apt to lure the insect into homes. Knowing which types
of hardwood or softwood species Formosan termites prefer could also improve the
effectiveness of bait products that kill the pests by luring them to
slow-acting toxins, according to Juan Morales-Ramos and Guadalupe Rojas,
entomologists at ARS Southern Regional Research
Center in New Orleans.
There, they designed a series of carefully controlled, replicated
lab experiments in which termite colonies were fed wooden blocks cut from 30
types of lumber. Wood that termites didnt like include old growth bald
cypress; Western red-, Alaskan yellow-, Eastern red-, and Spanish cedar;
mahogany; sassafras; and Indian-, Honduras-, and Bolivian rosewood. In fact,
eight of the wood samples actually killed termite colonies during 3-month
forced-feeding trials, probably because of noxious chemicals in the wood.
Wood that topped the pests favorites in the studies included
birch, red gum, Parana pine, sugar maple, pecan and red oak. Each stimulated
more termite feeding than southern yellow pine, a control species the
scientists used, and a commonly used lumber tree in the South.
Southern yellow pine has also been used as bait to help monitor
termites foraging for food. This new information, along with ongoing field
studies with living trees, points to other, more attractive woods that should
improve such monitoring to control the pest.
The research is part of an ARS-led national campaign called
Operation FullStop to fight
the termite, and minimize its damage. A longer article about their bait and
other Operation FullStop tactics is in this months issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Scientific contact: Juan Morales-Ramos and Guadalupe Rojas,
Subterranean Termite Research Unit, ARS Southern Regional Research Center,
La., phone (504) 286-4256 (Morales-Ramos), (504) 286-4382 (Rojas); fax (504)