Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2005
Publication Date: 4/20/2005
Citation: Cornelius, M.L., Lax, A.R. Effect of summon preferred food source on feeding, tunneling and bait station discovery by the formosan subterranean termite.. Journal of Economic Entomology 98:502-508.
Interpretive Summary: This study examined the effect of the commercially available product, SUMMONTM, on the behavior of the Formosan subterranean termite. The SUMMONTM disks clearly affect termite behavior. The disks act as feeding stimulants, cause aggregation behavior and can result in recruitment of termites to wood. Therefore, the presence of a SUMMONTM disk within a monitoring station would increase the acceptability of wood or bait matrix in that station. The increased feeding of filter paper disks treated with a water extract from a SUMMONTM disks and the increase in the rate of tunneling in sand treated with a water extract of SUMMONTM disks demonstrates that water soluble components of a SUMMONTM disk influence termite foraging behavior. The field test determined that the presence of the disks dramatically increased the rate of infestation of bait stations by termites. This increase in the rate of infestation in the field suggests that water soluble components of the disks leach into the soil surrounding the station and cause termites to direct their foraging behavior towards the station. Hence, SUMMONTM disks have the potential to improve the efficacy of commercial baits by increasing the rate of discovery of stations in the field. This research will benefit both the pest control industry and the consumer by providing information that may lead to the development of more effective baits for termite control.
Technical Abstract: This study evaluated the effect of SUMMONTM on the behavior of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki. Bioassays were conducted to determine if SUMMONTM disks affected the aggregation and feeding behavior of termites and to determine if the presence of SUMMONTM disks caused increased recruitment of termites to wood blocks. When termites encountered a SUMMONTM disk, they aggregated on top of the disk. Consumption of SUMMONTM disks was significantly greater than consumption of cardboard disks in paired choice tests. The presence of a SUMMONTM disk on top of a wood block caused a significant increase in consumption of the wood block. Bioassays were also conducted to determine if water extracts of SUMMONTM disks affected termite behavior. Consumption of filter paper disks treated with a water extract of SUMMONTM disks was significantly greater than consumption of control filter paper disks. The rate of tunneling through sand treated with a water extract of SUMMONTM disks was also greater than the rate of tunneling through untreated sand. In a field test, the rate of infestation of monitoring stations with a SUMMONTM disk was three times greater than the rate of infestations of stations without a disk.