Subterranean termite colonies can be as large as 1 million individuals with a foraging territory and underground galleries stretching up to 100 meters long. How does an entomologist study something that large? Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how researchers at the University of Florida have raised entire termite colonies from scratch and devised experimental setups that mimic large foraging and nesting areas while still fitting inside a lab.
A new termite-control method currently in development looks to combine the advantages of a liquid insecticide application with the comprehensive impact of existing solid termite bait systems.
A recent study at the University of Florida found that termites baited with an insecticide known as a chitin synthesis inhibitor will still follow their natural compulsion to return to their central nest to molt, an important factor in the efficacy of such baits.
A visual analogy created by termite researcher Thomas Chouvenc, Ph.D., illustrates the damage termites can wreak upon a house. Given a small, two-dimensional wooden replica of a house (30x20 cm, 2 mm thick), a colony of 2,000 Formosan subterranean termites took only three weeks to consume it.
Formosan subterranean termites have a strong urge to return to their central nest when it's time to molt.