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J Econ Entomol. 2011 Jun;104(3):1024-30.

Effect of seasonal changes in soil temperature and moisture on wood consumption and foraging activity of Formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae).

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1
USDA-ARS, Southern Regional Research Center, 1100 Robert E. Lee Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70124, USA. mary.cornelius@ars.usda.gov

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine how seasonal changes affect the foraging activity and wood consumption of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), in New Orleans, LA. There was a significant correlation between wood consumption and air temperature, soil temperature, and soil moisture, but not precipitation or number of rainy days. In the first year of the study, wood consumption was the lowest in December, February, and March. Wood consumption in January was not significantly different from consumption during the rest of the year. There were no seasonal changes in the number of underground monitoring stations occupied by termites. In the second year of the study, wood consumption was lowest from January to March. There was a significant decrease in the number of monitoring stations occupied by termites during the winter. This study determined that C. formosanus will remain in monitoring stations and resume feeding during warmer periods of a mild winter if average soil temperatures remain above 15 degrees C. Only prolonged periods of cold weather, with average soil temperatures below 15 degrees C, caused a significant number of termites to abandon underground monitoring stations. Seasonal changes in foraging activity would probably only disrupt baiting programs during severe winters in New Orleans, LA.

PMID:
21735925
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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