Start Date: Oct 01, 2006
End Date: Mar 31, 2010
The Formosan subterranean termite (FST) poses a unique threat to structures and trees because of large colonies existing in dense populations. Traditional methods of using non-repellent termiticides as a protective barrier failed to prevent damage or reduce population density. As a result FST is spreading and threatens rural and urban communities. An Area-wide management strategy using non-repellent termiticides or bait systems is proposed as an alternative to the traditional protective barrier. These termiticides and bait systems are known to eliminate colonies thus reducing density and the threat of further damage and spread. The New Orleans’ French Quarter Project will continue as a model of an area-wide strategy in a metropolitan area heavily infested with FST. Success of the strategy to reduce the infesting FST population is measured by comparing pre and post treatment alate numbers and monitoring activity of foragers with in-ground stations. Inspections will determine levels of infestations both pre and post treatment in structures and trees. The economic value of an area-wide approach will be determined by a survey developed by an economist for pest management professionals and property owners. Natural dispersion will be studied using a series of light traps appropriately distant from known sources of marked alates. In-ground stations will detect establishment of new colonies and genotyping used to determine relationship between alates from known sources and termite colonies. Natural dispersion will be studied under three conditions: 1) in rural forested areas where transportation has little impact; 2) in urban neighborhoods; and 3) re-invasion of previously infested areas. Transporting infested materials, e.g. railroad cross ties, boats or cargo accounts for establishment of new infestations hundreds of miles from original sources. ARS will work with university experts, regulatory officials and industry representatives to develop regulatory guidelines to limit the spread of FST by these means. The threat of other invasive species of termites especially from the Asian Pacific and Caribbean is very real in today’s global economy. Extensive literature exists on origin, species identity and possible establishment if introduced to the continental U.S. ARS will work with other scientists to increase this knowledge base and inform appropriate officials of potentially threatening species and suspected materials likely to carry infestations. ARS Scientist in the FST Research Unit in cooperation with the National Center for Physical Acoustics will develop technologies appropriate for detection of existing infestations and a warning system that alerts residents of invading termites. ARS will develop guidance and a survey to measure impact of education of the public about termite infestations and the area-wide management strategy. University experts, industry representatives, government officials and other appropriate agencies will participate in this effort.