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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: FORMOSAN SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE TREATMENT SUCCESS AND MOLECULAR TRACKING IN THE FRENCH QUARTER Project Number: 6435-32000-012-10
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 01, 2009
End Date: Sep 30, 2012

Objective:
1: Assess treatment success of the Formosan Subterranean Termites in the French Quarter at the level of alate swarms. This study is to determine alate numbers, spatial and temporal distributions and sex-ratios of alates in swarm gregations, and infer colony numbers contributing to swarm aggregations and origins of alates from genotypic profiles. 2: Microsatellite development and population genetic studies of invasive termites by developing microsatellite markers for termite species, which already are invasive or are likely to become invasive and which pose a significant threat to agriculture or urban structures if established in the United States. We will then use microsatellite genotyping to describe population genetic structure and colony breeding systems to identify factors that facilitate invasiveness and track points of origin and paths of movement of invasive termite in the United States. The knowledge gained from this study will help to guide decisions about treatment and prevention of spread of invasive termites.

Approach:
Alates from light traps and workers from inground stations, infestations of trees and structures that are active during the respective swarm season will be collected throughout the French Quarter of New Orleans with the assistance of USDA/ARS and New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Board (N.O.M.& T.C.B). The alates will be counted, sexed and stored and each colony will be identified by its genotypic profile. This allows us to test whether the alates originate from colonies in the vicinity of their capture and establish how often the same colonies swarm during a swarm season and over the years, and how far alates from a particular colony fly. Microsatellite development: DNA will be extracted and digested with restriction enzymes from at least 20 termites per colony from at least 20 colonies per population and multiple populations per geographic region. Protocols for microsatellite genotyping will be optimized for each species. Samples will be assigned to colonies and the breeding system (simple or extended family) and degree of inbreeding will be determined for each colony. Population genetic structure will be described using F-statistics. Genetic distances among colonies and populations will be used to track origin and spread of invasive termites.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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