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A rapid field bioassay technique with subterranean termites
1983 - IRG/WP 1188
Details are summarised of a field procedure which is designed to ensure continuous exposure to a replenishing termite biomass. After pre-baiting to determine the presence and identification of a termite hazard, test specimens (35 x 35 x 250 mm³) are installed vertically in the ground adjacent to and in contact with bait specimens of the same dimensions and interconnected by susceptible feeder strip.
C D Howick, J W Creffield


Natural durability studies in an accelerated field simulator - A novel approach
1983 - IRG/WP 2197
A study of the natural durability of untreated timbers to both decay and termite attack is described. The work illustrates the versatility of the Accelerated Field Simulator as a novel approach to biodeterioration research.
G C Johnson, J D Thornton, J W Creffield, C D Howick


A method for screening termite baits using Coptotermes lacteus mounds
1984 - IRG/WP 1237
A method with several variations designed to rapidly screen potential bait substrates using Coptotermes lacteus mounds is described. The equipment used in this method is relatively inexpensive, readily prepared in the laboratory, and easily installed into active mounds in the field. Bait substrates are in continuous contact with a 'high termite hazard', and may be monitored with minimum interference to the termites.
J R J French, P J Robinson


Laboratory and field evaluation of Plasmite Reticulation System using bifenthrin as a chemical barrier within wall cavities against subterranean termites.
2005 - IRG/WP 05-20307
Laboratory and field bioassays undertaken to demonstrate Plasmite Reticulation system effectively delivers the termiticide (bifenthrin) within a simulated wall cavity at the required concentration. The chemical assay indicated that the amount of bifenthrin sampled at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25m along the simulated reticulation system tested (30m) exceeded the manufacturer’s minimum recommendation of 0.0044%m/m. Results of the laboratory bioassay, using Coptotermes acinaciformis, indicated that the concentrations of bifenthrin present in the soil core samples at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25m were extremely toxic and prevented termite penetration of bifenthrin treated soil in laboratory bioassays immediately after field soil treatment. No penetration of any soil core samples was observed in the field test against Coptotermes lacteus.
J R J French, B M Ahmed, J Thorpe, A Anderson


Correlation between different international standard assessment procedures with termites. Part 1: Field exposure
1983 - IRG/WP 1198
Ramin treated with copper-chrome-arsenic (CCA), pentachlorophenate and lindane, each at three retentions, and three other untreated timbers were assessed in the field against Coptotermes lacteus and Nasutitermes exitiosus. Replicate specimens were exposed around five mounds of each termite species over a period of five years in south-eastern Australia. The field results provided the basis for judgement of corresponding laboratory trials conducted accordingly to the standard procedures of Europe, U.S.A. and Australia. In the field none of the wood preservative treatments with-stood termite attack for the full period of five years, not even CCA at the highest retention of 2.3 kg/m³. Merbau and Jarrah were the most resistant timbers but there was noticeable variation between trees.
M Lenz, C D Howick, N Tamblyn, J W Creffield, M Westcott


Estimation of the population of a sound colony of Coptotermes lacteus (Froggatt)
1988 - IRG/WP 1353
Selecting an area with a high termite hazard is deemed essential in locating field sites in order to screen potential termiticides and wood preservatives. Yet, quantifying termite populations in such sites remains imprecise. There are major problems associated with estimating populations of termites in mound colonies (either free-standing or in trees), and these are briefly discussed. In this paper we estimate the population of a mound colony of Coptotermes lacteus as 3.06 x 105. The estimate relates to foragers collected at baits that had been inserted into the mound. The technique adopted, "removal sampling", did not destroy the integrity of the mound nor incur unnecessary expense.
D M Ewart, J R J French


The case for non-chemical termite barriers in termite control
1989 - IRG/WP 1381
A brief outline of current non-chemical barriers in subterranean termite control and their use in Australia is presented. Recent use of non-chemical barriers in Hawaii has led to their evaluation in termite control here and elsewhere. In Australia, preliminary laboratory and field experiments have shown similar results to those found against Coptotermes formosanus in Hawaii, namely, Australian Coptotermes species do not penetrate intact barriers. Suggestions are offered to standardise laboratory and field evaluations of non-chemical termite barriers, with a discussion on the market potential.
J R J French


MDF manufactured from blends of cypress pine and radiata pine shows enhanced resistance to subterranean termite attack
2001 - IRG/WP 01-40214
Medium density fibreboards consisting of blends of the naturally durable wood species white cypress pine (Callitris glaucophylla) and non-durable wood species were manufactured in a commercial plant and subjected to a bioassay using the subterranean termite species, Coptotermes lacteus. A board composed of 30% cypress pine, 30% slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and 40% of the naturally durable hardwood species spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) was also manufactured and bioassayed against C. lacteus. The aims were to determine (i) whether boards containing cypress pine possessed increased resistance to termite attack compared to a control manufactured entirely from non-durable wood species; (ii) the relationship between the cypress pine content of boards and their resistance (if any) to termite attack; (iii) whether the termite resistance of boards containing cypress pine could be further enhanced by the addition of spotted gum fibre. There was an inverse relationship between the cypress pine content of MDF specimens and mass losses of the specimens during the bioassay, the percentage mass losses of specimens containing 11.4, 16.2 and 34.2% cypress pine being 20.3, 13.4 and 8.8%, respectively, compared to 32.8% for the control, which consisted of non-durable slash pine (80%) and hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) (20%) fibre. There was strong evidence that the inverse relationship between the cypress pine content of boards and mass losses during the bioassay was linear, although a statistically significant quadratic (curvilinear) effect was also apparent. The addition of spotted gum fibre to boards did not increase their resistance to termite attack. Cypress pine heartwood contains a variety of extractives that are either toxic or repellent to termites, and the increased termite resistance of MDF containing cypress pine compared to the control is probably due to the insecticidal effect of such chemicals on C. lacteus. The incorporation of cypress pine fibre into MDF shows promise as an alternative to chemical biocides for increasing the resistance of MDF to termites. However, the response of termites to heartwood extractives varies between species, and therefore further experimentation is needed to test the resistance of MDF containing cypress pine fibre to attack by greater range of wood destroying termites under test conditions that more closely simulate field conditions.
P D Evans, S Dimitriades, C Donnelly, R B Cunningham


Evaluation of chlorpyrifos and fungicides alone and in combination for control of insects and fungi in wood and wood composites
1998 - IRG/WP 98-30187
Wood composites are rapidly being adapted for use in exterior applications. The incorporation of a preservative system to prevent fungus and insect attack is necessary with most exterior composites. Research studies were reviewed pertaining to organic preservative systems based on Lentrek* insecticide wood treatment which contains the active ingredient chlorpyrifos alone and in combination with tebuconazole and propiconazole (fungicides) for use as a combination treatment preservative system for solid wood and wood composites. Effective retentions for chlorpyrifos for protection of wood from termite and beetle attack was determined to be 0.2 kg/m3 set by the high retentions needed for field control of Coptotermes formosanus. In addition, this retention also provides effective control of the termites; Coptotermes lacteus, Reticulitermes flavipes, and Nasutitermes exitiosus, and the Lyctiid powderpost beetle, Lyctus brunneus. Retentions needed for control of Gloeophyllum trabeum (brown rot) and Trametes versicolor (white rot) were determined to be 0.11 kg/m3 and 0.06 kg/m3 for tebuconazole and propiconazole, respectively. Discussions with the manufacturers of tebuconazole and propiconazole indicated that the two fungicides work best together when in a 1:1 ratio. Given the need for the 1:1 ratio then, retentions needed for the tebuconazole and the propiconazole for treatment of wood composites are therefore 0.1 and 0.1 kg/m3, respectively, using tebuconazole as the benchmark. Tebuconazole and propiconazole retentions of 0.08 and 0.08 kg/m3, respectively, afforded moderate stain and mold protection of treated wood with a 64% reduction in stain and mold coverage by 3 weeks; thereafter, protection diminishes with time to a 40% reduction in coverage by 8 weeks. Overall, the retentions needed for a mixture of tebuconazole/propiconazole/chlorpyrifos (T/P/C) for use in wood composites are 0.1/0.1/0.2 kg/m3, respectively, to protect the wood from attack by insects and decay fungi while at the same time providing some moderate reduction of stain/mold coverage. Also, in order to compensate for the anticipated long term degradation of the two fungicides under field conditions, the fungicide retentions were increased by 50% thereby resulting in final recommended retentions for use of T/P/C in wood composites as 0.15/0.15/0.2 kg/m3, respectively.
M P Tolley, P E Laks, R Fears


The rôle of lignin in the nutrition of several Australian termites
1983 - IRG/WP 1191
The ability of Nasutitermes exitiosus (Hill), Coptotermes acinaciformis (Frogatt), Coptotermes lacteus (Froggatt) and Mastotermes darwiniensis (Froggatt) to degrade 14C-lignin preparations was examined. The lower termites were unable to degrade lignin. Nasutitermes exitiosus was able to cause a 5-8% degradation of hardwood lignins and a synthetic lignin. It failed to degrade the lignin of Pinus radiata D.Don.
L J Cookson


Implications for comparability of laboratory experiments revealed in studies on the effects of population density on the vigour in groups of Coptotermes lacteus (Frogatt) and Nasutitermes exitiosus(Hill) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae, Termitidae)
1983 - IRG/WP 1194
The vigour - survival. and wood consumption - of groups of Coptotermes lacteus and Nasutitermes exitiosus was measured when termites were kept at different population densities (g termites/mL) by changing group size and/or volume of the holding container. A characteristic pattern emerges for subterranean-like termite species. At low population densities (<0.01 g/mL) performance of termites improves with an increase in group size; at higher densities it tends to decline. The impact of altering group size and container volume on termite vigour is most pronounced at low population densities; at higher population densities, performance tends to be more stable but declines markedly when termites become overcrowded. In most jar-type experiments on termites, especially those conducted in Europe and the U.S.A., small groups of termites are housed in disproportionately large jars, resulting in very low, sub-optimal population densities. Suggestions are made for improvement in experimental design that would lead to an enhancement of the comparability of results from different laboratories.
M Lenz, R A Barrett, E R Williams


Effects of chemicals used for ground-line protection of hardwood poles on termite attack
1988 - IRG/WP 1356
The majority of chemicals formulatet to protect the groundline of hardwood poles in Australia have been fungicides. Nine products were tested against Coptotermes lacteus attack to determine their value in preventing attack by subterranean termites. Results indicated that Busan, high temperature creosote, pigment emulsified creosote, copper naphthenate gel and "Blue 7" had a repellent effect on Coptotermes lacteus, while "Blue 7" had toxic consequences.
R S Johnstone, R H Eldridge


Temperature studies on two mounds of Coptotermes lacteus (Isoptera)
1986 - IRG/WP 1295
The temperatures within and around two Coptotermes lacteus mounds located in a cleared and shaded forest site in a dry sclerophyll forest in central Gippsland were monitored. Hourly temperature measurements were recorded at each mound over a 24 h period in spring, summer and winter respectively. Regardless of site, Coptotermes lacteus maintained the core temperatures in the nursery area much higher than that of the soil and well above that of the enveloping air. The termites maintained this difference within fine limits on a daily scale, while the seasonal change was more marked. Other aspects of temperature and thermoregulatory capabilities of this forest termite are explored.
D M Ewart, J R J French


Feeding response of field populations of Coptotermes species to softwood blocks treated with non-toxic water-proofing and anti-microbial products.
2003 - IRG/WP 03-10487
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.
J R J French, T Pynsent, M Susic


The gaseous environment of Coptotermes lacteus mound colonies before and after mirex treatment
1989 - IRG/WP 1396
While monitoring the halocarbon and hydrocarbon emissions from a dry sclerophyll eucalypt forest in central Gippsland, similar emissions were collected from within several Coptotermes lacteus mound colonies. Samples of the gases (hydrocarbons) from within the mounds were collected before, during and after treatment with mirex-treated wood-decay blocks. All the mirex-treated mounds died within two weeks of active feeding on the bait blocks.
J R J French, R A Rasmussen, D M Ewart, M A K Khalil


The development of a field testing technique using Coptotermes lacteus mounds in Australia
1985 - IRG/WP 1270
A method to rapidly screen potential bait substrates placed around Coptotermes lacteus mounds is described. A perforated P.V.C. conduit is buried in a shallow trench in a rectangular arrangement around an active mound. Seven P.V.C. holders containing cork baits are inserted vertically into the conduit around the mound. Within three weeks following installation of the baits around five mound colonies of Coptotermes lacteus, all the cork baits were uniformly attacked and eaten. The potential of this test arrangement around termite mounds for assessing the efficacy of wood preservatives and termiticides is briefly discussed.
J R J French, P J Robinson


Implications for comparability of laboratory experiments revealed in studies on the effects of population density on the vigour in groups of Coptotermes lacteus (Froggatt) and Nasutitermes exitiosus(Hill) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae, Termitidae)
1983 - IRG/WP 1197
(Summary of paper 1194) The vigour - survival and wood consumption - of groups of Coptotermes lacteus and Nasutitermes exitiosus was measured when termites were kept at different population densities (g termites/ mL) by changing group size and/or volume of the holding container. A characteristic pattern emerged. At low population densities (< 0,01 g/mL) performance of termites improved with an increase in group size; at higher population densities it tended to decline. The impact of altering group size and container volume on termite vigour was most pronounced at low densities; at higher population densities, performance tended to be more stable but declined markedly when termites became overcrowded. In most jar-type experiments on termites, especially those conducted in Europe and the U.S.A., small groups of termites are housed in disproportionately large jars, resulting in very low, sub-optimal population densities. Suggestions are made for improvements in experimental design that would lead to an enhancement of the comparability of results from different laboratories.
M Lenz, R A Barrett, E R Williams


Performance of sintered glass screening as a potential physical barrier against subterranean termites in the laboratory and after 4 years of field test
2008 - IRG/WP 08-10646
This paper describes the performance of sintered glass screenings as a potential physical barrier against the subterranean termites, Coptotermes acinaciformis and Mastotermes darwiniensis in the laboratory and after four years of field testing in active above-ground mound colonies of Coptotermes lacteus. The laboratory results suggest that sintered glass is a viable control option against Coptotermes species in Australia, particularly against the subterranean termites C. acinaciformis and C. lacteus. There was a marked difference between the C. acinaciformis and M. darwiniensis termites’ ability to tunnel the sintered glass physical barriers in the laboratory bioassays. After 8 weeks of laboratory bioassay, the result suggested that C. acinaciformis was not able to tunnel through the sintered glass physical barrier, while M. darwiniensis tunnelled through the barrier within less than 48 hours. These laboratory and field results indicated that the sintered glass physical barrier can protect structural timbers from attack and damage by subterranean termites.
J R J French, B M Ahmed (Shiday)


Building with termites: The challenge of biomimetic design for carbon neutral buildings.
2009 - IRG/WP 09-20405
The main aim of this paper is to present humanity and termites as design partners in the creation of a new dimension of ecosystem understanding. “Beyond biomimicry: What termites can tell us about realizing the living building”, Turner and Soar (2008) opens up a new era in how we think of human habitations, not only on earth, but maybe on other planets, and using the termite model as the corner stone of innovative engineering. We know that termites are masters of constructing ‘buildings’ that meet all nutrition, energy, waste disposal needs, shelter, and food sources for many other animals and insects. We need to emulate the symbiotic abilities of termites to survive over time, for as Margulis (1998) pointed out, we all live on this symbiotic planet, and symbiosis is natural and common. The challenge to architects, builders and the wood protection industry will be immense, but none the less intellectually and practically stimulating, particularly with climate change implications. Also, briefly discussed is the need to amend Australian Standards and Building Code of Australia “deemed-to-satisfy” legislation. So, we can mimic termite design and management systems in our bid to manage and sustain energy efficient buildings.
J R J French, B M Ahmed (Shiday)


Review of candidate graded particle barrier testing methods in Australian Standard (AS 3660.3 – 2000): Assessment criteria for termite management systems
2009 - IRG/WP 09-20417
The Australian Standard (AS. 3660.3 – 2000) for assessment of candidate graded particle termite barriers is reviewed and suggestions for amendments are made. Areas requiring amending in light of current biological knowledge involve the inclusion of proprietary or patented systems rather than generic types; selection of test termites in the genus Coptotermes; duration of test periods; and inadequate detail proffered in the experimental design section (2.4.5) to ensure that all evaluators are conducting bioassays under similar standard conditions of temperature and relative humidity to ensure compliance with the performance criteria; and emphasise laboratory procedures that will accurately predict field performances.
J R J French, B M Ahmed (Shiday), B L Schafer


Preliminary laboratory and field evaluation on the performance of Rubbermite as a graded physical barrier against subterranean termite species in Australia
2012 - IRG/WP 12-10766
This paper describes the performance of Rubbermite as a potential graded particle barrier against two subterranean termite species of Coptotermes in laboratory and field test. The results of these bioassays suggest that Rubbermite is a viable control option against Coptotermes species in Australia, particularly against Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) and Coptotermes lacteus (Froggatt). Rubbermite and its components do maintain their intended functions for their intended life-expectancy of more than 50 years with intended levels of maintenance in the intended conditions of use as a non-toxic termite graded particle barrier. The Rubbermite graded particle barrier complies with Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) as an Alternative Based Performance System.
B M Ahmed (Shiday), J R J French


Comparative response of Reticulitermes flavipes and Coptotermes formosanus to borate soil treatments
1991 - IRG/WP 1486
Eastern (Reticulitermes flavipes [Kollarl]) and Formosan (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki) subterranean termite workers (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) were exposed to borate-treated sand in an indirect exposure tunneling assay in the laboratory. In the ten day assay period, both termite species readily penetrated sand containing 5000, 10000, or 15000 ppm (wt. of compound / wt. of sand) disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (Tim-BorÒ) or zinc borate (Firebrake ZB-FineÒ). With Reticulitermes flavipes, significant mortality (85-93%) resulted from workers tunneling through sand treated with 5000 ppm disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (higher concentrations were also effective), or 15000 ppm zinc borate. Responses of Coptotermes formosanus workers were lesser and more variable, with only concentrations of 10000 and 15000 ppm zinc borate resulting in mortality 70-89%) significantly different from that in the control groups. These results suggest that differences between these two species in tunneling behavior may reduce exposure of Coptotermes formosanus to the borate-treated sand.
J K Grace


Problems caused by termites in buildings in the State of Sao Paulo
1976 - IRG/WP 150
Termites are the main insects attacking buildings in the State of Sao Paulo - Brazil. Their attack occurs in wood and wooden materials as well as paper, textile, leather and so on.
M S Cavalcante


International collaborative laboratory comparison of two wood preservatives against subterranean termites: Third update and first report
1996 - IRG/WP 96-10174
At the 24th annual meeting of IRG in Orlando, USA, in May 1993 an international subterranean termite laboratory bioassay to compare the various preferred termite protocols used by IRG termitologists was initiated. The author was nominated to co-ordinate this comparative laboratory evaluation of two wood preservatives, copper-chrome-arsenic (CCA) and copper naphthenate (Cu-Na) against the subterranean termites used as test termites in Australia, France, Japan, Thailand, United Kingdom and the Unites States of America. Solutions of these two wood preservatives were prepared and impregnated into Pinus radiata wood blocks to obtain loading of 0.0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 kg/m³ respectively. All preservative treatments were carried out at the Division of Forestry and Forest Products in Melbourne. The treated specimens were dispatched to the participating researchers who subjected these specimens to attack by their test termite species, and have now returned the specimens to Melbourne. This paper reports the amount of wood consumed and the mean mass loss (%) on both treated and untreated wood blocks by the termites in the various laboratory bioassays.
J R J French


Detection of feeding behaviour of termites using AE monitoring
1991 - IRG/WP 1514
Using acoustic emission (AE) monitoring, the feeding activity of the termite inhabiting a wood specimen was investigated. The amplitude and the rate of AE from the specimen of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki was larger than that of Reticulitermes speratus Kolbe. The AE event rate was higher in the specimen with soldiers than without soldiers. The AE event rate decreased according to the resistance of wood specimens against termite attack.
Y Imamura, M Tokoro, M Owada, Y Fujii, M Noguchi


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