Feeding response of field populations of Coptotermes species to softwood blocks treated with non-toxic water-proofing and anti-microbial products.
J R J French, T Pynsent, M Susic
The feeding response of field populations of the subterranean termite, Coptotermes lacteus, to Pinus radiata wood blocks (50 x 40 x40 mm) treated with various combinations of non-toxic and odourless water-proofing materials based on natural high molecular weight esters (TimberTreatÒ) and a new water insoluble quaternary ammonium compound (‘anti-microbial’) is described. Treated wood blocks were inserted into tube containers (300 x 90 mm) and placed into active above-ground mound colonies of C. lacteus in the south east Queensland. A simple objective rating system of attack measured this response over a period of 28 days.
During the periods of test, termites had ‘visited’ all the wood specimens in the containers. Specimens treated with 1.5% anti-microbial solution and one coat of the timber treatment (TimberTreat®) were not attacked or damaged. The termites completely encased these specimens in soil and faecal material but did not consume any of the blocks. Blocks treated with one coat of the timber treatment and blocks treated with 0.5 and 1.0% anti-microbial solutions were only slightly to moderately attacked. These results suggest a strong ‘anti-feeding’ reaction by the termites to these novel non-toxic and odourless products, and maybe a role for these products as potential termiticides and/or wood preservatives against Coptotermes species. Further field trials are currently in progress.