A new species of subterranean termite was found at Terceira island
- November 17th, 2009
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Based on a request by the owner of a house located at Santa Rita (Praia da Vitória, Terceira), termite experts of the Azorean Biodiversity Group (University of Azores) made a survey of two houses and found evidences of the occurrence of a subterranean termite. A detailed investigation of abandoned wood in the surrounding fields allowed the discovery of a large population of a subterranean termite of Reticulitermes, the same genus of the species occurring at Faial (Reticulitermes grassei). We suspect that this population now discovered at Terceira belongs to another species, probably Reticulitermes flavipes, the eastern subterranean termite, very common in the USA. Subterranean termites live in the soil and have very large populations that can number several million termites per colony. To control this situation two urgent measures are needed: i) the first step requires the delimitation of the infested area followed by an ongoing process of monitoring. Once delimited, a multi-year management program should be initiated in which a number of management practices are implemented in an integrated manner. A key component of such programs is a colony-level control methodology based on baiting and the Trap-Treat-Release method; ii) Yard Wood Management is a crucial part of area-wide termite management. This means that every item of dead wood must be either removed and disposed or elevated off the ground so that termites can not access it, e.g., sheds, firewood, edging boards, doghouses, posts, wood chip mulch, and most of all: stumps. Stumps are of critical importance because these provide ideal reproductive sites.