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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Changes in the Distribution of Subterranean Termite Colonies (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Author
item Cornelius, Mary

Submitted to: International Conference on Urban Pests
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Citation: Cornelius, M.L. Changes in the distribution of subterranean termite colonies (isoptera: rhinotermitidae) in City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Urban Pests pp. 455-460 (2008).

Interpretive Summary: Termite activity had been continuously monitored in four sections of City Park since 2002. Between 2002 and 2005, 12 distinct Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, colonies had been delineated using mark-release-recapture techniques. This study examines how the distribution of subterranean termites has changed in City Park two years after Hurricane Katrina by using mark-release-recapture techniques to delineate distinct C. formosanus colonies post-Katrina. Pre-Katrina, there were nine monitoring stations occupied by Reticulitermes sp. Of the nine stations that were occupied by Reticulitermes sp. pre-Katrina, 5 are unoccupied, 2 are occupied by C. formosanus, and 2 stations are missing due to downed trees. Boundaries for Formosan subterranean termite colonies were relatively stable between 2003 and 2005. Mark-release-recapture methods have determined that there have been more changes in the foraging ranges of C. formosanus colonies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina than in the two year period before the storm. The temporary vacancy of gallery systems due to flooding may have provided the opportunity for a new colony to move into parts of a gallery system previously occupied by another colony without encountering members of the other colony. Increasing our understanding of the foraging behavior and population ecology of the Formosan subterranean termite will improve our ability to enhance the efficacy of termite control methods.

Technical Abstract: Termite activity had been continuously monitored in four sections of City Park since 2002. Between 2002 and 2005, 12 distinct Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, colonies had been delineated using mark-release-recapture techniques. This study examines how the distribution of subterranean termites has changed in City Park two years after Hurricane Katrina by using mark-release-recapture techniques to delineate distinct C. formosanus colonies post-Katrina. Pre-Katrina, there were nine monitoring stations occupied by Reticulitermes sp. Of the nine stations that were occupied by Reticulitermes sp. pre-Katrina, 5 are unoccupied, 2 are occupied by C. formosanus, and 2 stations are missing due to downed trees. Boundaries for Formosan subterranean termite colonies were relatively stable between 2003 and 2005. Mark-release-recapture methods have determined that there have been more changes in the foraging ranges of C. formosanus colonies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina than in the two year period before the storm. The temporary vacancy of gallery systems due to flooding may have provided the opportunity for a new colony to move into parts of a gallery system previously occupied by another colony without encountering members of the other colony

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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