UF researchers examine how much bait it takes to kill an underground termite colony – PCT
DAVIE, Florida – A team of students from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF / IFAS) have determined that less is more when it comes to knowledge how many members of a subterranean termite colony must consume a chemical known as a chitin synthesis inhibitor (CSI) before the colony is eliminated.
As a leading industry standard used in bait systems, CSI baits were first used commercially in the mid-1990s. Bait systems function as slow-acting agents. Current commercial formulations can provide a cost-effective and long-lasting solution to the potential damage caused by subterranean termites.
“If the termites feed on the bait, it can cause the colony to wipe out within months, as researchers at the University of Florida have demonstrated over the past three decades through dozens of studies. keys, ”said Thomas Chouvenc, assistant professor of urban entomology at UF / IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (REC).
“One of the remaining questions we had was, how many bait-feeding termites does it take to achieve colony elimination?” said Johnalyn Gordon, who recently graduated from UF / IFAS with a master’s degree.
“From a previous study in our lab, we knew that it only takes a day for bait-feeding termites to reach a colony-wide lethal dose, but how many termites within the colony should actively feed on the bait is unclear, ”added Joseph Velenovsky, doctoral student at UF / IFAS Fort Lauderdale REC.
The two students, under the supervision of Chouvenc, worked with 1.68 million termites at REC in Fort Lauderdale to answer this question.
“They used 27 large termite colonies that the team spent four years raising in the lab, with around 62,500 termites in each,” Chouvenc explained.
“It was quite a task to show that the bait’s food sharing behaviors were occurring at the termite colony level, from only a fraction of the foragers,” Chouvenc said.
The efforts of the graduate student duo paid off. They were able to determine that it takes less than 5% of the entire termite population of a colony feeding on a bait station for a short time to achieve colony elimination.
Most importantly, they demonstrated that it only takes 77 milligrams of a termite-specific pesticide to kill a million termites, confirming that CSI termite baits remain the most environmentally friendly termite control technology in the world. environment available.
“It was remarkable to observe that only a small portion of the foragers feeding on bait was sufficient to kill the colonies,” Velenovsky said.
“More remarkable still, if a small number of worker bees feed on a tiny amount of bait for just a few days, the colony has already reached a ‘point of no return’ and is doomed to be eliminated within 90 days. Gordon explained.
The study concluded that although subterranean termites can be seen in bait stations for up to three months, the colony is technically already dying within the first week, even after a small number of termites feed on it.
“If the termites feed on the bait, they’re already dead, but they don’t know it yet,” Gordon concluded.