Submitted to: Sociobiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2005
Publication Date: 6/20/2005
Citation: Raina, A.K., Florane, C.B. 2005. Survival and growth of the formosan subterranean termite (isoptera: rhinotermitidae) on various types of wood used in construction. Sociobiology 45: 787-796. Interpretive Summary: The Formosan subterranean termite (FST) is a serious pest of wooden structures and live trees in most of the southern states and Hawaii. Adults of the FST start incipient colonies following swarming. In a matter of few years, these become mature colonies with up to several million individuals. In order to evaluate, various types of wood commonly used in construction, for resistance to termite attack, we chose spruce, pine, redwood, plywood and oriented strand board (OSB). None of the adult pairs survived on redwood and OSB. Mean number of progeny did not differ significantly for the remaining wood types. Termite workers survived on all five wood types but the highest mortality occurred on OSB. Wood consumption was lowest for redwood. Whereas, OSB would make a moderately termite resistant construction material, redwood being expensive would be useful in specialty projects. The information should be very useful to construction industry desiring termite protection.
Technical Abstract: The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, is a serious pest of wooden structures and live trees in several southern states and Hawaii. We tested five types of wood and wood composites; spruce (Picea sp.), southern pine (Pinus sp.), redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), plywood and Oriented Strand Board (OSB) for survival and incipient colony formation by primary reproductives and, mortality and feeding by workers of C. formosanus. None of the primary reproductives survived on redwood and OSB. On the remaining three wood types, mortality ranged from 31.1% for pine to 48.9% for plywood. Mean number of progeny did not differ significantly between these three woods. Workers, on the other hand, survived on all the test woods, but mortality was highest (62.9%) for OSB and lowest for spruce (19.2%). Wood type and colony both had significant effect on consumption with the highest mean consumption recorded for spruce. The results indicate that redwood and OSB can not support the development of incipient colonies and also adversely affect worker survival thereby provide some degree of protection against subterranean termite damage.