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UF Study: Pretty Termites do the Most Damage

UF Study: ‘Pretty’ Termites do the Most Damage “If the colony is very young, with just a few hundred termites in poor shape, then it would take more time for them to damage a structure. In the end, mature termite colonies are the ones doing the most economic damage.” Plenty of economic damage, in fact. Asian subterranean termites are among the most damaging termites in the world, especially in the tropics, and represent a significant part of the $40 billion annual cost worldwide, Chouvenc said. This species was recently introduced in Florida and is spreading fast. In their quest to discover more about how the Asian subterranean termite brings up its young and how that impacts larval development, Chouvenc and UF/IFAS entomology professor Nan-Yao Su conducted a study in which they examined the symmetry of the soldier caste of the Asian subterranean termite. They studied 459 soldiers from 73 six-month-old colonies to see how well they nurtured the young termites. http://www.pctonline.com/article/4-training-your-staff-how-univar-can-help/Younger colonies produced less-symmetrical termites, while more mature ones produced more symmetrical ones, the study showed. That’s because younger colonies are under more stress. They only have a king and queen to find food and groom the larvae, said Chouvenc, an entomologist at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Once the larvae grow into workers, they can provide brood care to the newly laid eggs, so as the colony grows, the investment in caring for “baby” termites improves over time. “A termite with poor symmetrical traits looks all messed up, like it was hit by a car,” said Chouvenc. “On the opposite end, termites raised in a mature colony in great conditions develop smoothly and are good-looking specimens.” Here’s how baby termites can grow into “good looking” or “ugly” adults: The more worker termites in a colony, the better off the larvae – or “babies” – will be.

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