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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICAL AND BIORATIONAL CONTROL OF THE FORMOSAN SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE Title: Effect of Flooding on the Survival of Formosan Subterranean Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Laboratory Tests

Authors
item Cornelius, Mary
item Osbrink, Weste

Submitted to: Sociobiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 26, 2010
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
Citation: Cornelius, M.L., Osbrink, W.L. 2010. Effect of flooding on the survival of Formosan Subterranean Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in laboratory tests. Sociobiology. 56:669-711.

Interpretive Summary: Underground monitoring stations were active with Formosan subterranean termites less than a month after the flood waters receded from an urban park, City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana. The results of these experiments indicate that termites are not able to survive in their gallery system or within wood once submerged. There is also no evidence that a significant number of termites attempt to move up from the soil or cardboard on the surface or within wood blocks to escape rising water. However, significant numbers of termites located within the hollowed-out core of a wood block moved up within the block to escape rising water. Formosan subterranean termite colonies most likely survived the flooding of City Park because the termites were located within trees at the time of the flood. These results have implication for termite control programs. These results suggest that Formosan subterranean termite colonies have the capacity to recover after suffering high levels of mortality among foragers. Although termite treatments may kill large portions of the foraging populations, colonies may be able to recover and re-infest structures.

Technical Abstract: Underground monitoring stations were active with Formosan subterranean termites, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, less than a month after the flood waters receded from an urban park, City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana. This study examines whether the presence of galleries in soil or wood increases survival of C. formosanus in flooded containers and whether termites move up from the substrate into wood blocks to escape rising water. There is no evidence that termites are able to survive in their gallery system or within wood once submerged. There is also no evidence that a significant number of termites attempt to move up from the soil or cardboard on the surface or within wood blocks to escape rising water. However, significant numbers of termites located within the hollowed-out core of a wood block moved up within the block to escape rising water. Formosan subterranean termite colonies most likely survived the flooding of City Park because the termites were located within trees at the time of the flood.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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