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Coming Attractions


How do termites find their food? New lab and field studies are showing us how termite colonies organize their tunneling activities to improve their chances of finding new food sources.

Pseudotrichonympha grasii Is there a secret world inside the termite gut? A lively community of protozoa and bacteria lives inside termites and helps them digest wood. New microbiological research is revealing just who these microorganisms really are, and how they get along with each other.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Po-yung Lai

How are termites moving around Hawaii, and what threats loom on the horizon? Surveys of termite distribution on all the Hawaiian Islands, combined with chemical and genetic analyses are helping us to define patterns of termite migration, and have brought four newly invading termite species to light during the past several years.

How is a termite colony organized, and what happens when there is more than one "boss" (queen)? Molecular genetic techniques like microsatellite analysis reveal the underlying organization of these secret societies.

Coptotermes vastator How big a threat is our newest invader, Coptotermes gestroi? Lab and field studies are in progress to determine the colony size of our most recently introduced termite in Hawaii, and to determine how this new invader will interact with the well-established Formosan subterranean termite.

How effective are new termite baits in Hawaii? How can we improve how baits are used? As new termite bait products are developed and appear in stores or on the internet, field studies are initiated to determine how effective they actually are, and to match them to Hawaii's conditions. We don't always have the answers right away, but we're always working to find them. Stay tuned.



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