Agricultural Research Service scientists have developed three inventions, which, when combined together, could efficiently control subterranean termites. The first invention is a way to economically produce the fungus, Paecilomyces fumosoroseus (USPN 5,968,808). The second invention demonstrates that P. fumosoroseus effectively kills Formosan subterranean termites (USPN 6,660,291). The fungus can be transferred from termite to termite–slowly killing off the colony. This is critical for controlling termites since only certain termites leave the colony to seek food. The third invention offers a viable method for using the fungus in various powder or liquid forms depending on application requirements. It can be used alone or in combination with a chemical agent, making it easy to incorporate into an integrated pest management system. This technology offers an economical delivery system that can be used to distribute the fungus to termite colonies. Subterranean termites are estimated to cost $1 billion dollars annually to control in the United States alone.
These technologies, when bundled together, provide a way to supplement current chemical methods for controlling subterranean termites. The technologies can reduce the need for environmentally-harmful chemicals. More information on ARS termite research projects can be found at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects.htm (search for "termite").
In preliminary field tests, the fungus decreased termite populations in an infested tree. Companies that produce similar type termite control formulas may be interested in partnering with ARS scientists to conduct large-scale field trials.
Please refer to patent application S.N. 10/657,982 (Docket #0185.03), "Use of Paecilomyces spp. as Pathogenic Agents Against Subterranean Termites," which was filed on September 9, 2003, and is a divisional of USPN 6,620,291 (Docket #0224.00), which issued on December 9, 2003.
|Maureen S. Wright
Formosan Subterranean Termite Research Unit
1100 Robert E. Lee Boulevard, Room 1129
New Orleans, LA 70124-4305
(504) 286-4294 / Fax: (504) 286-4419
|William J. Connick, Jr.|
New Orleans, LA 70179
|Mark A. Jackson
Crop Bioprotection Research
1815 N. University Street, Room 3301
Peoria, IL 61604-3901
(309) 681-6283 / Fax: (309) 681-6693