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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGY AND CONTROL OF THE FORMOSAN SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE
2012 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:

Armstrong Park Project: Field study of the recovery process of the Formosan subterranean termite (FST) populations showed that even all detectable colonies are eliminated by baits from a site, if the baiting program is discontinued, invasions by neighboring colonies and alate pairs will bring the FST population to the level similar to that of pre-baiting period within 4-5 years. Recruit highly durable (HD) "always active" baits have been applied since 2010, and up until spring 2012, more than six FST colonies and at least one Reticulitermes (R.) flavipes colony were eliminated after consuming HD baits. Some of the eliminated colonies were large FST colony(s) invading from outside of the park. The continuous application of HD baits should create a buffer of termite free zone surrounding the park in near future. Termite Biology Project: Laboratory study to compare cellular encapsulation of Metarhizium (M.) anisopliae among 6 termite species from 5 families all termite species were able to use hemocytes to encapsulate M. anisopliae when this fungus penetrated through the insect cuticle, but the results suggested that species evolved in a habitat with high pathogenic pressure are adapted with more efficient immune reactions than those that evolved in a habitat with low pathogenic pressure. A review of 227 publications on the biological control for termites in the past 50 years showed no substantial success in this field, yet research remained active.


Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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