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Factors Affecting the Tunneling Behavior of the Western Subterranean Termite, Reticulitermes Hesperus Banks

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Smith, James L.; Rust, Michael K.

Year Published

1991

Publication

In: Haverty, Michael I.; Wilcox, W. Wayne, technical coordinators. 1991. Proceedings of the symposium on current research on wood-destroying organisms and future prospects for protecting wood in use; September 13, 1989; Bend, OR. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-128. Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 28-33

Abstract

Laboratory studies were conducted to determine factors that affect the tunneling behavior of the western subterranean termite (Reticulitermes hesperus Banks). Soil particle sizes between 2.36 and 0.84 mm prevented tunneling. Exposure to solid layers of calcium, magnesium, or zinc borate did not repel workers, but produced >87 percent kill within 10 d. No tunneling occurred in soils treated with the formulated termiticides tested at concentrations ≥50 ppm. Termites did not tunnel in soils treated with as little as 1 ppm bifenthrin or cypermethrin. Exposure to bifenthrin and cypermethrin deposits immobilized termite workers which prevented them from tunneling. Termites failed to penetrate a layer of dead termites killed by earlier exposure to chlorpyrifos. Contact with dead termites resulted in 96 percent mortality of the tunneling workers. Workers readily penetrated layers of termites freshly killed by freezing, and some died within 24 h. At 15°C, the distance tunneled by acclimated termites was significantly greater than those of unacclimated termites. At 21-32°C, the acclimation period did not affect the distance tunneled. Tunneling rates were significantly lower at 15°C, than at 21, 27, or 32°C. Tunneling rates at 27°C were significantly greater than at 21 or 32°C.

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Citation

Smith, James L.; Rust, Michael K. 1991. Factors Affecting the Tunneling Behavior of the Western Subterranean Termite, Reticulitermes Hesperus Banks. In: Haverty, Michael I.; Wilcox, W. Wayne, technical coordinators. 1991. Proceedings of the symposium on current research on wood-destroying organisms and future prospects for protecting wood in use; September 13, 1989; Bend, OR. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-128. Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 28-33

Last updated on: July 27, 2007