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Laboratory Report

Articles: Laboratory Report

Formosan Termite Control
The Formosan termite (Coptotomes formosanum) causes an estimated $1 billion cost, annually, in property damage and for preventative measures and structural repairs. In the southern and southwestern states, this termite is unrivaled in colony size. It attacks service lumber as well as living trees. Termite repellants cause them to move to other locations, and insecticides are slow acting. Researchers in Illinois and New Orleans, working with a fungus (Paecilomyces formosanosens), knew its effectiveness in attacking and killing termites but needed an effective way to apply it. After they experimented with more than a dozen foaming agents, they found a commercially available protein, keratin hydrolysate, that was compatible with the fungus and allowed the fungus to be more effective than when applied in water. In the foam, made of a mixture of keratin hydrolysate, water, fungus spores, nutrients, and adjuvants (which help the spores stick to the termites), the spores germinated faster. The mix is sprayed into termite holes; after twenty-five minutes, the foam collapses. The termites pick up the spores directly from the foam or as they are foraging or grooming...


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