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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Wright, Maureen
item Osbrink, Weste
item Lax, Alan

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2003
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Citation: Wright, M.S., Osbrink, W.L., Lax, A.R. 2004. Potential of entomopathogenic fungi as biological control agents against the Formosan subterranean termite. In: Nelson, W.M., editor. Agricultural Applications in Green Chemistry. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society Press. 173-188.

Interpretive Summary: Subterranean termites cause an estimated $1 billion in damage and prevention costs in the United States annually. The Formosan subterranean termite is responsible for a large, and growing, proportion of the cost. Novel chemicals which are non-repellant and slow-acting have been developed in an effort to control termite activity. This work reports the development of natural termite enemies, fungi, as biological control agents that will complement the use of chemicals in an Integrated Pest Management scheme.

Technical Abstract: Tolerance, pathogenicity and transmission studies of the fungi Metarhizium and Beauveria, show that biological control agents can enhance termite treatment flexibility. Subterranean termites cause significant damage to wood structures and trees, especially in the Gulf of Mexico region of the United States. A predominant pest species is the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus (Shiraki), which differs from native termite species in increased colony density and a propensity to destroy living wood. In order for termite control approaches to work they must be non-repellant, transferrable, and have delayed toxicity to allow transfer from foraging workers to their nestmates. An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach will be necessary to reduce the impact of these pests. One component of IPM, and the focus of this work, is the development of biological control agents. Environmental conditions in FST nests and sites of infestation, such as living trees, can vary greatly. Some treatment sites require novel treatment methods which fungi may be uniquely suited to provide.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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