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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGY AND CONTROL OF THE FORMOSAN SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE
2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Evaluate and examine the potential and mechanism of re-invasion by FST into vacated foraging territory in Armstrong Park of colonies(s) that were previously eliminated by baits; and.
2)establish an area-wide management project in a small urban community, Poplarville, MS, and in rural forested area, Stennis Space Center, MS, infested community and achieve a sustainable program by colony elimination (population reduction) with less toxic and persistent termiticides.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
1) Re-invasion study: More than twenty colonies of FST in Armstrong Park, which is located adjacent to the New Orleans French Quarter, have been eliminated. The re-invasion scenario will be monitored with a series of in-ground monitors placed on the perimeter of the park and throughout the foraging territory of the previously eliminated colonies. Alate sticky card traps will be use to monitor the density of the general population of new invaders..
2)Area-wide management: Poplarville, MS, and the Stennis Space Center have been identified for the sustainable FST management program. The relatively isolated rural town and an isolated area at the Center are infested with FST, and serve as ideal sites for the project. A preliminary survey indicated multiple populations of FST in the town that can be readily characterized, monitored, and baited. Detected FST populations, thus far include the police department, old railroad station, and a few other residential areas. They will be monitored to determine the density and extent of the infestation with survey stakes in bucket stations and alate sticky traps in key areas of the town to survey the overall FST populations. Commercial bait products or a prototype of the "hermetically sealed bait" will be installed at sites with FST ground activity. Baits will be applied by ARS personnel. If there is a need to involve pest control firms for bait applications, a single firm will be selected for applying baits in a well-defined area. If the anticipated area is too large for a single pest control firm to handle, then a contiguous block of a reasonable size will be assigned to one firm. Bait consumption will be monitored using a modified version of a colony elimination system. Following the bait installation, local activity of FST will be monitored and documented with bucket stations. The overall FST activities in the town will be monitored annually by using the sticky trap survey of alates in the spring.


3.Progress Report

All detectable Formosan Subterranean Termite (FST) colonies in Armstrong Park were eliminated in ‘04. The number of active monitoring stations increased for 3 years, from 3 in‘04 to 22 in ‘06, and 55 stations by the end of ‘07. In 08, however, the number of active stations increased rapidly and reached the peak of 122 by September. Since FST activity was constant in 09-10, it is very likely that the FST population in the Park had stabilized and was no longer increasing in size. These results indicate that even after a total elimination of all detectable FST colonies from a large area and if the baiting program is discontinued, a population of FST will establish in 4-5 yrs as a result of invasions by neighboring colonies and alate pairs to a level similar to the initial pre-baiting period. In the next phase of this study, all FST colonies in the Park will be baited with durable, high density bait that resists decay in soil. Since active bait is available continuously for up to a year without replacement, the FST populations will be subject to continuous bait pressure to test the hypothesis that FST populations may be reduced and kept below damaging threshold if active baits are continuously available. Termite Biology Project - Analysis of the images of tunnels excavated by FST and the eastern subterranean termite (EST) showed tunnel volume and mean numbers of surviving termites, was significantly higher for EST tunnel volume, and mean numbers of surviving termites, was significantly higher for each EST termite. The tunnel volume was proportional to group size. Twenty percent of workers excavated at any given time. Termites did not work in shifts, and only 1 or 2 specific individuals tunneled continuously. The majority spent 1-hr in tunnel excavation, and 16% of workers never excavated. A positive correlation was found between excavation time and worker’s antennal segment count, which refers to a worker’s age. However, a large variation in excavation time also was recorded among workers with same antennal segment number. Thus, worker age might not be the only determining factor for tunnel excavation load in FST. Progress of this project is monitored through Annual FST Technical Committee Meetings, reports, regular meetings with cooperators, routine phone calls, and e-mail correspondence.


Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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