Submitted to: Society for Invertebrate Pathology Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 30, 2003
Publication Date: July 30, 2003
Citation: Wright, M.S., Jackson, M.A., Connick, Jr., W.J. 2003. Potential use of Paecilomyces fumosoroseus for control of the formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki [abstract]. Society for Invertebrate Pathology. p. 104. Technical Abstract: Subterranean termites are destructive pests in tropical and temperate regions throughout the world. One subterranean termite species, the Formosan subterranean termite (FST), Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, is becoming the predominant termite pest species in the southern United States. The desire to develop effective, non-chemical controls for native subterranean termites and the FST has led to the investigation of various microbial biological control agents. In this study, we evaluated the use of conidia and blastospores of the entomopathogenic fungus Paecilomyces fumosoroseus (Pfr) as a biological control for the FST. Termite mortality, disease transmission to termite nestmates, and termite repellency to spore preparations of Pfr were investigated. After 5 minutes of exposure to blastospores of various Pfr strains (2.1 x 108 blastospores/cm2 of filter paper), a mortality rate of 100% of the FST was achieved within 9 days. To measure disease transmission, FST workers were exposed for 5 minutes to conidia of Pfr strain ARSEF 3581 and then incubated with an equal number of FST nestmates that were not directly exposed to the fungus. Transmission of P. fumosoroseus infections to unexposed FST nestmates resulted in 80-100% mortality for all FST after 14 days incubation. In all experiments, the mortality rate of termites exposed to blastospores or conidia of Pfr were significantly higher compared to unexposed control FST populations. Repellency studies suggested that liquid culture-produced blastospores of Pfr are significantly less repellent compared to some conidial preparations of Pfr. These data show that Pfr has potential for use as a biological control agent for the FST. Large numbers of infectious blastospores of Pfr can be easily and inexpensively produced and stabilized for use as sprays or for incorporation into formulations, enhancing the potential of this fungus as a biological termiticide.