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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Plant Flavonoids on Fecundity, Survival, and Feeding of the Formosan Subterranean Termite

Authors
item Boue, Stephen
item Raina, Ashok

Submitted to: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2003
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Citation: Boue, S.M., Raina, A.K. 2003. Effects of plant flavonoids on fecundity, survival, and feeding of the formosan subterranean termite. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 29(11):2575-2584.

Interpretive Summary: The effects of 5 plant compounds (flavonoids) on the egg laying ability (fecundity), mortality, and food consumption of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, were evaluated. In oral testing, the compound apigenin was the most toxic of the flavonoids examined. The compound biochanin A was most effective in reducing the number of eggs laid. Subsequently, these two flavonoids were tested through both oral feeding and topical application at higher doses. Significant reduction in the numbers of progeny was evident for biochanin A, in both treatment methods. Choice feeding tests with termite workers showed that termites initially were attracted to filter paper treated with biochanin A, but over a period of 72 hours, consumed significantly less material when compared to controls. Biochanin A is a promising novel phytochemical with the ability to reduce fecundity in primary reproductives of the Formosan subterranean termite, but it does not induce higher feeding activity. This research will benefit basic termite research and may lead to the more effective use of natural products in termite bait systems.

Technical Abstract: Fecundity, mortality, and food consumption of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, were evaluated in response to 5 plant flavonoids (genistein, biochanin A, apigenin, quercetin, and glyceollin). Apigenin fed at 50 mg/primary reproductive pair proved to be the most toxic flavonoid. Biochanin A was most effective in reducing the fecundity. Subsequently, these two flavonoids were tested through oral feeding and topical application at 100 mg dose. Significant reduction in the numbers of progeny was evident for biochanin A, in both treatment methods. Choice feeding tests with termite workers showed that termites initially were attracted to filter paper treated with biochanin A, but over a period of 72 h, consumed significantly less material when compared to controls. Biochanin A is a promising novel phytochemical with ability to reduce fecundity in primary reproductives of the Formosan subterranean termite, but it does not elicit phagostimulant activity.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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