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Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Termite Biology and Behavior Dr. Richard M. Houseman Assistant Professor of Entomology Division of Plant Sciences University.

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Presentation on theme: "Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Termite Biology and Behavior Dr. Richard M. Houseman Assistant Professor of Entomology Division of Plant Sciences University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Termite Biology and Behavior Dr. Richard M. Houseman Assistant Professor of Entomology Division of Plant Sciences University of Missouri

2 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Termites Isoptera –40-50 species in the U.S. Social Insects Incomplete metamorphosis Feed on cellulose

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4 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Subterranean Termite Development After Buchli 1958

5 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Developmental Stages White Immatures Larvae Not sclerotized (hardened) Fed a liquid diet little work develop into other forms

6 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Developmental Stages Other Immatures Worker most numerous caste Work to maintain colony No wing buds Head and mandibles sclerotized May become secondary reproductives (rarely)

7 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Developmental Stages Other Immatures Nymphs Wing buds Brain, sex organs developed Future alates May become secondary reproductives (commonly)

8 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 N W L W

9 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Developmental Stages Adults Soldier Sterile No further molting Modified for defense Depend on a liquid diet

10 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Developmental Stages Adults Primary Reproductives develop wings and darkened body (swarmers) leave to start new colonies definite time of year Highest egg production

11 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Developmental Stages Adults Secondary Reproductives from workers (rarely) or nymphs (commonly) no wing development Develop in absence of primary reproductives stay within current colony and produce eggs Lower egg production but higher number

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15 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Subterranean Termite Development Buchli 1958

16 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Termite Behavior Termites exhibit social behavior –Use the same nest –Cooperation (Communication) –Overlapping generations –Division of labor Division of labor = Division of Behavior

17 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Termite Communication Touch, Taste, Smell –Tactile stimuli Touching of antennae, mouthparts Head tapping Vibration of substrate –Chemical stimuli called pheromones Alarm, Trail, Sex pheromones Many others

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21 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Termite Behavior Division Labor/Behavior –Workers Building; Feeding; Foraging; Grooming –Soldiers Defending; Alarm –Reproductives Swarming; Pairing; Mating

22 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Building Subterranean nest –Need a moisture source –Maintain soil contact –Construct mud tubes

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24 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Building Excavation and Construction Excavation of tunnels –Soil particles picked up in mandibles –Choose favorable areas in the landscape –Consistent searching

25 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Building Construction of tubes –Low-level alarm stimulus Air movement Odor, Heat, humidity change –Response Jerk backwards 180° turn and place fecal cement warn nestmates

26 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Obtain nutrition/feed the colony –Cellulose –Digested by microorganisms –Nitrogen fixation Behaviors –Consumption –Trophollaxis Feeding

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28 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Trophollaxis Mutual food exchange within the colony Functions –Nutrition –Communication –Regulation

29 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Trophollaxis Types –Stomodeal Mouth-to-mouth transfer Contains cellulose and salivary secretions –Proctodeal Anus-to-mouth transfer Contains microorganisms, cellulose, anal secretions Most important

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31 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Feeding Cellulose in different forms –Finicky if have choices. Softer-spring rings softer than summer rings Sapwood-young trees possess more sapwood than heartwood Fungus-can be good or bad –Opportunistic if without choices. Redwood, cedar, cypress Peanuts, apples, strawberries

32 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Foraging Tunneling Areas of favorable soil temp and moisture Follow guidelines Locating food Wood that is associated with moist, dark places Direct nestmates toward suitable food sources

33 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Foraging Rate varies with soil porosity (Houseman and Gold 2003) Location varies with soil temperature and moisture (Houseman 1999, Long et al. 2001) Consistent conditions more important than peak values Landscaping influences consistency

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37 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Grooming Removal of pathogens from nestmates –Studies with powders –Complete removal usually less than 24h

38 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Swarming Dispersal Flight –NOT a mating flight –In response to seasonal environmental conditions Light, Temperature, Moisture, Wind –Each species has own dispersal period

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42 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Swarm Periods for Reticulitermes species in Missouri R.tibialis R.flavipes R.virginicus R.arenicola R.hageni Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

43 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Mating Shed wings after landing –Females If touched; –Walk, abdomen down, looking for nest site If not touched; –Stop, abdomen up, emit pheromones –Males Touch and follow

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49 Kansas IPM Education October 2005 Nesting Copularium –1x2cm; next to objects on the soil Cooperate in construction –Mate after constructed –Raise first batch of eggs together First year: Second year: (µ=387±226) –Female with large abdomen, but mobile


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