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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGY AND CONTROL OF THE FORMOSAN SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE
2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Develop and test educational tools, including curricula, equipment and materials to establish sustainable extension and education programs promoting termite management in communities throughout Hawaii.

2. Develop tools and assessment methods for use in educational programs supporting area-wide termite management research in Louisiana and Mississippi.

3. Test assessment methods for evaluating impact of educational programs in Hawaii and the southern USA on community-wide termite management.

4. Establish field sites and laboratory procedures for comparative evaluation of biology, behavior, and management of Coptotermes gestroi (Asian Subterranean Termite) and Coptotermes formosanus (Formosan Subterranean Termite) in Hawaii; and detection of new invasive termite species.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Objective 1: Refine curriculum and instructional tools and methods addressing termite management that have been implemented in 191 classrooms in Hawaii. Emphasis will be on (a) recruitment and establishment of additional sustainable classrooms; (b) defining characteristics of such teachers and classrooms to permit use of this approach in other termite-threatened regions; and (c) assessment of student outcomes and influence on parental/community awareness of termite management options and implementation.

Objective 2: Develop a generalized curriculum, and implementation and assessment techniques from experience in Hawaii to support community-wide termite management trials in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Objective 3: Develop a method of using light traps or other termite sampling techniques to monitor reductions in termite populations following implementation of educational programs, and improved survey tools for assessing changes in implementation and/or efficacy of control measures by homeowners and the pest control industry, as a result of program implementation. We will collaborate with educational specialists and economists, as necessary to develop and test assessment techniques.

Objective 4: Coptotermes gestroi has been identified by ARS researchers and University cooperators as the principle new invasive termite species threatening Hawaii and the continental USA. We will establish a field site for collection and research on C. gestroi in Hawaii and perform systematic surveys of termite occurrence in Hawaii, in order to locate and identify new termite introductions and monitor the spread of invasive termites.


3.Progress Report

The SCA began in 2010, focusing on biology & management of two invasive termites in Hawaii, American Pacific, and southern continental USA: Formosan Subterranean Termite (FST) and Asian subterranean termite. The Asian subterranean termite (AST) is a recent invader. Our results represent the first information on this species in U.S. Progress made to date:.
1)Lab evaluations: a novel cement fiberboard was determined to be extremely resistant to termite attack. Lab evaluations of other promising termite-resistant building materials are continuing..
2)A novel, low-toxicity, wood preservative developed by USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) researchers is currently in lab evaluations against the Formosan subterranean termite in Hawaii, and the eastern subterranean termite at FPL, Wisconsin. Results will be the first systematic examination of the termite resistance of this promising wood preservative. .
3)Trapping of alates (swarming termites) on Oahu, Hawaii, using a light trap developed by USDA-ARS-SRRC researchers, has demonstrated that the swarming period for C. gestroi is initiated approximately 1 month later (mid-June) than peak period for C. formosanus. Trapping is continuing, and will represent first record of Asian subterranean termite flight phenology in U.S..
4)Soil samples taken at 6 locations on four Hawaiian Islands indicate that nonrepellent soil insecticide fipronil has a residual activity exceeding 13 years. This extensive field study is continuing..
5)An extensive evaluation of the relative termite resistance of bamboo species grown in Hawaii was completed. Six bamboo species were evaluated: Bambusa hirose, Bambusa oldhamii, Dendrocalamus brandisii, Dendrocalamus latiflorous, Gigantocholoa pseudoarundinaceae, and Guadua angustifolia. Both the Formosan and AST's demonstrated similar feeding preferences, and bamboo mass losses in four-week lab evaluations ranged from 13-29%. Most resistant were Bambusa oldhamii and Gigantocholoa pseudoarundinacea. Most susceptible was Guadua angustifolia; and B. hirose, Dendrocalamus brandisii, & D. latiflorus are intermediate in their resistance. Results are guiding bamboo cultivation programs on islands of Maui & Hawaii..
6)Evaluation of comparative preferences of Formosan and Asian subterranean termites for woods used in construction in Hawaii and southern USA was performed. C. gestroi has a slower feeding rate than C. formosanus, but overall feeding preferences were similar. Both Douglas-fir and Southern Yellow Pine were heavily damaged by both termite species, while feeding on Redwood was limited to 4-5% mass loss, indicating that Redwood is relatively more deterrent to both termites; &.
7)Evaluations of tunneling by both termite species indicated that C. gestroi has a greater number of multi-branched foraging tunnels than C. formosanus. Follow up study determine if differences in tunneling behavior result different patterns of food location. Results will have direct application to termite baiting around structures in Hawaii. Progress in this project is monitored through Annual Technical Committee Meetings, reports, meetings with cooperators, routine phone calls and emails.


Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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