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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345295

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Foraging distance and population size of juvenile colonies of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in laboratory extended arenas

Author
item Su, Nan-yao - University Of Florida
item Osbrink, Weste
item Kakkar, Garima - University Of Florida
item Mullins, Aaron - University Of Florida
item Chouvenc, Thomas - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2017
Publication Date: 6/7/2017
Citation: Su, N., Osbrink, W.L., Kakkar, G., Mullins, A., Chouvenc, T. 2017. Foraging distance and population size of juvenile colonies of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in laboratory extended arenas. Journal of Economic Entomology. 110(4):1728-1735.

Interpretive Summary: The Formosan termite is well established in the south eastern part of the United States, and it is considered the most devastating termite pest in the world. Intact colonies with a king and queen were studied in large ant farms where it was determined that larger colonies will travel further to collect food (wood). We also determined that older termite workers travel further from the nest while young workers remain near the nest caring for the king, queen, eggs, and immatures. This distinct age related division of labor delegates the more dangerous foraging activities to older workers thereby minimizing the cost when they are lost. These results are relevant for management of termites by allowing the pest management professional to anticipate that larger colonies will require more baits and time to control.

Technical Abstract: The relationship between colony size and foraging distance was examined in extended foraging arenas with incipient colonies of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki. Our results showed that as long as the royal pairs are present, larger colonies foraged at longer distance, and the oldest workers distributed further away from the central nest. The results agree with the scaling model that predicts a large foraging range for animals of larger body size. An analysis of published data from population survey studies and field trials of bait toxicants showed that field colonies of the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) follow the scaling model, while C. formosanus colonies were inconsistent with the model prediction. Reasons for the inconsistency with field data of C. formosanus are discussed.