Transfer efficiency by the subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) of food-borne bait formulations containing benzoylphenyl urea chitin synthesis inhibitor
Lewis, Jennifer Lynn
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Experiments were conducted exposing the eastern subterranean termite [Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar)] to one of five chitin synthesis inhibitors (CSIs); these included diflubenzuron, hexaflumuron, lufenuron, noviflumuron, and one experimental CSI in commercially available bait matrixes. Following CSI exposure, termite donors (D) were combined with naïve nestmates (R) and horizontal toxicant transfer studied in laboratory bioassay. Various D:R ratios included 20:0, 15:5, 10:10, 5:15, and 1:19 and mortality accessed daily for 68 days. All CSIs tested were efficiently transferred over the time period examined as evident by termite mortality of non-exposed nestmates, except for diflubenzuron at the lowest ratio. Behavioral responses must also be considered when evaluating pesticide efficacy. Observations of CSI impacts in R. flavipes were recorded and cannibalistic acts quantified. I reported the frequency of dead and moribund showing evidence of CSI intoxication, including the previously described “jackknife” pose and an additional physical deformity, I termites “body curl”. Cannibalism of CSI exposed termites was not as frequent as termites from nontreated controls but due to efficient toxicant transfer, equivalent mortality levels were recorded. Termiticides can target either the insect or their microbial symbionts. I quantified the anaerobic protists from termites exposed to CSIs and provided evidence they were negatively impacted after only 3 days.