2007 Annual Report
The most significant achievement over the life of the project is the development of acoustic devices for the detection of hidden infestations of the Formosan subterranean termite. This technology has been adopted by collaborators in the related project for area-wide management of the FST in New Orleans French Quarter. Further constraints to the widespread adoption of this technology are the development of more sensitive and less expensive sensors and signal processing equipment. Successful implementation of this technology should allow earlier detection of termite infestation and allow treatments before significant damage to structures or trees occurs. This research addresses National Program 104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology, goal 2.1.2 develop accurate, sensitive and non-destructive methods for detecting hidden populations of ants or termites using physics.
Termite survival and dispersal: We have also confirmed the continued presence of the Formosan subterranean termite in areas of New Orleans’ City Park that were under floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina for approximately a month. Roughly eighty percent of the in-ground monitors that showed termite activity in the months immediately preceding Katrina showed the presence of termites two months after the floodwaters receded. These findings indicate the need for continued vigilance and termite control practices even in areas heavily inundated by Katrina’s floodwaters. This research addresses National Program 104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology, goal 2.1.2 develop accurate, sensitive and non-destructive methods for detecting hidden populations of ants or termites using physics.
Feeding stimulant: A fungal extract applied to filter paper has showed feeding stimulating activity compared with untreated controls. Chemical fractionation has revealed a single active fraction that also stimulates feeding and may be useful in a baiting system. Further fractionation and characterization of the active molecules are in progress. Discovery of feeding stimulants could increase the amount of bait consumed by termites and improve the effectiveness of baits as termite control treatments. A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement for the isolation and identification of the fungal metabolite as a termite feeding stimulant has been initiated. This research addresses National Program 104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology Component 3 Biology and Physiology, goal 3.2.2 Characterize and isolate pheromones and other social cues used by ants and termites in colonization and foraging.
Spread of Formosan subterranean termites: Evaluation of the extent of termite infestation in rural areas and dispersal of termites along railroads has been initiated through the installation of light traps and in-ground monitors. Captures of the winged (reproductive form) of the Formosan subterranean termite indicate that only short distance spread from known areas of infestation occurs naturally and that only sporadic isolated foci of infestation have been discovered in rural areas distant from commercial activity. These findings are expected to help with the development of predictive models for termite spread and should assist with the development of practices to limit the spread of the Formosan subterranean termite. This research addresses National Program 104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology Component 2: Detection and Surveillance Technology, goal 2.1.2 develop accurate, sensitive and non-destructive methods for detecting hidden populations of ants or termites using physics.
Biological control of termites: Biological control fungi were formulated with keratin based foam compatible with living sprores. Trees having severe termite infestation were selected and foam injected into the trees. The foam provided for upward flow of the inoculum in voids within trees to provide additional treatment coverage. The successful application of biological control agents within trees would provide a new, environmentally friendly and possibly sustainable treatment option for controlling termite infestations in trees. This research addresses National Program 104, Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology Component 4 Control Technology, goal 4.2.1. Identify, isolate, cultivate, characterize and test natural pathogens and predators of vectors and pests. Develop and enhance the specificity and lethality of control agents.
Fokialakis, N., Osbrink, W.L., Mamonov, L.K., Gemejieva, N.G., Mims, A.B., Skaltsounis, A.L., Lax, A.R., Cantrell, C.L. 2006. Antifeedant and toxicity effect of thiophenes from four echinops species against the formosan subterranean termite, coptotermes formosanus. Pest Management Science. 62:832-838.
Meepagala, K.M., Osbrink, W.L., Sturtz, G., Lax, A.R. 2006. Plant derived natural products exhibiting activity against formosan subterranean termites (coptotermes formosanus). Pest Management Science. 62:565-570.
Morales Ramos, J.A., Rojas, M.G., Sittertz-Bhatkar, H. 2006. Effects of diflubenzuron on the peritrophic matrix and fat body of formosan subterranean termite (isoptera: rhinotermitidae) workers. Sociobiology. 47(3):667-676.
Shockey, J.M., Gidda, S., Chapital, D.C., Kuan, J.W., Dhanoa, P.K., Bland, J.M., Rothstein, S.J., Mullen, R.T., Dyer, J.M. 2006. Tung tree DGAT1 and DGAT2 have nonredudant functions in triacylglycerol biosynthesis and are localized to different subdomains of the endoplasmic reticulum. The Plant Cell 18:2294-2313. Cornelius, M.L., Duplessis, L.M., Osbrink, W.L. 2007. The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Distribution of Subterranean Termite Colonies (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana. Sociobiology 50(2):1-25.