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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 #310440

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

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Title: Natural resistance of exotic wood species to the formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

Author
item Cornelius, Mary
item Osbrink, Weste

Submitted to: International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/11/2015
Publication Date: 3/29/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61478
Citation: Cornelius, M.L., Osbrink, W.L. 2015. Natural resistance of exotic wood species to the formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation. 101:8-11.

Interpretive Summary: Subterranean termites are major structural pests. The global economic impact of termite pests is estimated to be at least $40 billion. Concerns about environmental contamination by wood preservatives have increased interest in compounds in naturally resistant wood that have toxic effects on termite pests. The purpose of this study was to evaluate survival and wood consumption of the Formosan subterranean termite on ten different species of wood used as commercial lumber. Six of the wood species had natural resistance to termites and caused an average of >75% mortality. Southern yellow pine and spruce were the most palatable and teak was the most resistant of the wood tested. Toxic chemical components of teak hold the most promise as wood preservatives that could be effective against a major economic pest of wood products. These results provide information that can be used to develop novel, more environmentally safe wood preservatives. The development of less toxic wood preservatives is necessary because the widely used wood preservative, chromated copper arsenate, has been banned in the United States for residential use. Therefore, pest control operators and the home construction industry need an environmentally safe, viable alternative.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate survival and wood consumption of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, on ten different species of wood used as commercial lumber. Six of the wood species had natural resistance to termites and caused an average of >75% mortality. Southern yellow pine and spruce were the most palatable and teak was the most resistant of the wood tested. Toxic chemical components of teak hold the most promise as wood preservatives.