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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. 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:

During the 2011-2020 reporting year, a termite management curriculum, “Educate to Eradicate” was presented in public school classrooms on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii islands, with an emphasis on sustainability. This K-12 curriculum is targeted at reducing termite infestations in homes in Hawaii by affecting the behavior of students who will be future home owners, and educating parents/guardians and community members on termite prevention measures, building conditions increasing the risk of infestation, and appropriate termite control methods. The classroom instruction is coupled with community seminars on termite prevention and control. To date, this termite management program has been implemented in over 350 Hawaii public school classrooms with more than 11,800 students. Student assessments clearly demonstrate increased knowledge of prevention methods after instruction. Extension of information into the community was demonstrated by the fact that 86% of students returned a home inspection form for termite-conducive conditions, with 74% signed by a parent or guardian. Research was conducted in the current year to identify factors important for continuation of this instructional program following project termination. Our results demonstrated that teachers in earlier grades were more prone to continue to offer the curriculum than those in later grades, who are constrained to a greater extent by state/national testing requirements. Key factors promoting continuation were (a) mentoring by grade-level colleagues; (b) the inquiry-based (hands-on) nature of the lessons; (c) grade-level specific content; (d) integration with state science instruction standards, and (e) ability to use aspects of the biology-based termite curriculum to also enhance instruction in Social Sciences, English, and Mathematics. Light traps were also installed at partner schools, with peak termite swarming, including the newly invasive Asian subterranean termite, occurring in April and early May. Research also continued to compare the Formosan and Asian subterranean termites in Hawaii, with a comparison of their tunneling patterns suggesting that the Asian termite may spread less rapidly than the Formosan, and favor areas with higher temperature.


Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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