In honor of Halloween, Entomology Today takes a look at zombie ants, cannibalistic termites, and other spooky insect science.
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 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.
A new study in the Journal of Economic Entomology shows exposure to an insecticide bait known as a chitin synthesis inhibitor for as little as one day may be sufficient to eliminate a colony of Asian subterranean termites