FLC News

New Method for Controlling Subterranean Termites

DConT2

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Mid South Area scientists in Louisiana have discovered a new fungal strain that causes rapid and significant mortality to Formosan and other subterranean termites. This strain is environmentally friendly and provides an alternate and safer method of controlling termites. It is very effective against alates (winged-form of termites) that emerge during April and May, and give rise to new colonies. Because the adults stay in the nest for approximately two weeks before they fly, targeting them in early April would eliminate the potential threat of new colonies. Adult flight is also what homeowners observe first. The strain not only kills the worker termites and prevents damage to houses and trees, but it also removes the potential for new infestations.

Termite control operation is a major industry in the United States. At present, chemical baits are primarily used for termite control. ARS scientists can provide the initial fungus and the process to mass-produce it.

Companies that market biological control products and termite baits could use this technology. The companies would need to produce fungal spores in large quantities and sell it to pest control operators.

For more information: Ashok K. Raina, 504-286-4290 or araina@srrc.ars.usda.gov; Alan R. Lax, 504-286-4472, 504-286-4419 or alax@srrc.ars.usda.gov

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