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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #292968

Research Project: Insect Management Systems for Urban Small Farms and Gardens

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Title: Seasonal changes in the caste distribution of foraging populations of formosan subterranean termite in New Orleans, Louisiana

Author
item Cornelius, Mary
item Osbrink, Weste
item Gallatin, Erin

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2015
Publication Date: 8/6/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61506
Citation: Cornelius, M.L., Osbrink, W.L., Gallatin, E.M. 2015. Seasonal changes in the caste distribution of foraging populations of formosan subterranean termite in New Orleans, Louisiana. Journal of Insect Science. 15:115.

Interpretive Summary: This study examined the relationship between temperature, precipitation, soil composition and levels of feeding damage and the caste distribution of the Formosan subterranean termite, collected in underground monitoring stations. In addition, the seasonal abundance of nymphs was described from twenty stations over a five year period. Numbers of workers, soldiers, and soldier/worker ratio were significantly affected by month and by level of feeding damage. There was a significant correlation between numbers of nymphs and level of feeding damage, temperature, precipitation, and soil composition. Over a five year period, significantly more nymphs were collected in 2011 than in 2007 and 2008. Peak nymph collections varied from year to year. Overall, peak nymph collections were more likely to occur in March, September, and October. Increasing our knowledge of the environmental factors that influence caste distribution and cause aggregations of nymphs in underground stations could result in the development of novel methods of termite control. This research will be used by pest control companies and homeowners to prevent structural damage due to the Formosan subterranean termite.

Technical Abstract: This study examined the relationship between temperature, precipitation, soil composition and levels of feeding damage and the caste distribution of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, collected in underground monitoring stations over a 12 mo period. In addition, the seasonal abundance of nymphs was described from twenty stations over a five year period. Numbers of workers, soldiers, and soldier/worker ratio were significantly affected by month and by level of feeding damage. The number of nymphs collected in monitoring stations was highly variable. In the 12 mo test, there was a significant correlation between numbers of nymphs and level of feeding damage, temperature, precipitation, and soil composition. Over a five year period, significantly more nymphs were collected in 2011 than in 2007 and 2008. Peak nymph collections varied from year to year. Overall, peak nymph collections were more likely to occur in March, September, and October. Increasing our knowledge of the environmental factors that influence caste distribution and cause aggregations of nymphs in underground stations could result in the development of novel methods of termite control.