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Title: Long-Term Development of Incipient Colonies of Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in the Laboratory

item Raina, Ashok
item Florane, Christopher

Submitted to: Sociobiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2007
Publication Date: 12/31/2007
Citation: Raina, A.K., Florane, C.B. 2007. Long-Term Development of Incipient Colonies of Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in the Laboratory. Sociobiology 50(3):739-747.

Interpretive Summary: INTERPRETIVE SUMMARY The Formosan subterranean termite is a major of wooden structures and live trees in many of the southern states and Hawaii. New colonies are started by a pair of adults after swarming. Because of their cryptic nature, study of their reproductive biology and growth of the colony is very difficult. Under laboratory conditions the incipient colonies grew very slowly for the first two years. Major increases in the numbers of progeny occurred during third and seventh years. Seven year old females laid as many as 100 eggs per day. Ability to forage resulted in increased colony size. The information, although obtained under laboratory conditions, can provide useful guidelines for the development of effective termite control measures.

Technical Abstract: ABSTRACT The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki introduced into the continental United States about 60 years ago has become a major urban pest in several southern states and Hawaii, infesting houses and trees. Apart from its spread through transport of infested wood, swarming adults are a major source of new infestations. Under optimal conditions, incipient colonies produced by the primary reproductive pairs grow up to become fully mature colonies. The growth of incipient colonies under laboratory conditions was monitored for seven years. Two peaks of significant increase in the numbers of progeny occurred during the third and seventh year. Foraging, even on a limited scale had a profound effect on progeny numbers. We also determined the approximate longevity of workers under laboratory conditions.