Pest Perspectives - May/June 2015 - (Page 16)

feature Update on the Invasive Conehead Termite Treatment Program in South Florida By Sue Alspach, Environmental Specialist, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Barbara L. Thorne, Professor Emerita and Research Professor, University of Maryland, and Science Advisor to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services I n May 2001, conehead termites (Nasutitermes corniger) were identified in the City of Dania Beach in southeastern Florida. This invasive termite is assumed to have arrived in wooden materials on a boat that traveled through the termite's native range in the Caribbean islands or Central or South America before docking at a private marina in Dania Beach (Scheffrahn et al. 2002). This is the only population of conehead termites established in the United States. Beginning in 2003, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has led a force of government officials, research scientists, pest management professionals, trade associations and manufacturers to work collectively and productively toward eradication of this exotic pest species. The eradication effort that began in 2003 suppressed visible conehead activity, and some reports claimed eradication. However, in 2011, thriving colonies of conehead termites were discovered outside the originally infested area, and the containment / control / eradication effort was restored. The current status, based on comprehensive visual inspections for signs of activity, is that this invasive population has been suppressed, but activity persists at two locations - a forested wetland and a cluster of contiguous properties including adjacent overgrown lots. We remain on high alert in all previously infested areas and beyond in order to identify any resurgence of young colonies growing from alates that dispersed. This article provides an update on the conehead termite program, highlighting initiatives aimed at containing and controlling 16 May | June 2015 the termites, and discussing challenges in this ambitious endeavor. A total of 71 properties in Dania Beach, ranging from small residential homes and yards to densely overgrown natural areas, including a 7-acre wooded lot and a 3-acre wetlands area, have been treated following the discovery of live conehead termites since the program was reinstated in May 2012. As of this writing, only two general locations made up of 11 properties have known conehead activity, and aggressive treatments continue in those locations. Use of insecticides remains the primary protocol and treatment anchor of the program. Property owners trimming overgrown vegetation and eliminating wood debris from their yards have also helped reduce termite food and shelter, enabled thorough inspections, and allowed for effective termiticide application. The following are additional strategies that have had significant impacts on the conehead termite program: Nest Removal Followed by Termiticide Treatment of Nest Area/Footprint FDACS' new treatment protocol, implemented in fall 2012, involves the removal and destruction of all conehead termite nests, followed by thorough application of liquid termiticide under the footprint of the removed nest, including injection into any holes in structural wood or plant material under the nest (Thorne 2013, Thorne 2015). The conspicuous carton nest is the heart of a conehead colony, normally containing the reproductives, eggs and nursery, and up to several hundred thousand soldiers and workers. Depending on season, the nest may also house prealates and/or mature alates (swarmers) that disperse to establish new colonies. Nest removal and Conehead trails on live avocado tree. Photo courtesy of Barbara L. Thorne. |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pest Perspectives - May/June 2015

Presidential perspective: Out and About with FPMA
FPMA 1980-1999: More Influence, a More Professional Image
Update on the Invasive Conehead Termite Treatment Program in South Florida
Four Secrets to Communicating with Clarity
Capitol concerns: Legislative Tour 2015 Recap
FPMA Leadership: Class 2 Takes on Tallahassee
FPMA corner
Operational excellence: Five Characteristics of Attractive Pest Control Merger Partners
Advertiser index

Pest Perspectives - May/June 2015