Termites Love To Molt At Home

As it turns out, termites do not like shedding their skin out in public. That’s an activity reserved for the privacy of their home. In a new study by the researchers at the University of Florida, it was shown that the worker-caste of Formosan subterranean termite colonies will return to the central nest when they have to molt. What’s even more interesting about this study is that it shows why chitin synthesis inhibitor (CSI) baits are so successful at eliminating an entire colony.

CSI baits will kill termites during molting, and the urge to return to the central nest, which is where the brood and reproductives are found, will ensure that not only does the bait reach the central reproductive hub of a colony, it will also ensure that the termites do not develop bait eversion.

As part of the study, the researchers set up a small colony that had one central nesting site and several foraging sites. They then took 30 molting and 30 non-molting workers and marked them for further observation. Sure enough, the non-molting workers were busy around both the nesting area and the foraging sites, but the molting workers were found exclusively near the eggs of the colony, sometimes no further than one or two inches away. Once the workers had molted, they would continue to stay in the nesting area for up to 36 hours.

The researchers believe that this behavior could simply be linked to a desire to be safe during the vulnerable molting period, or something more complex, such as feeding the queen the molted skin layers, which are rich in nitrogen.

These studies can help improve the efficiency of CSI baits, allowing pest control specialists to take out a termite colony much faster. Given that about 1.7% of the total number of workers in a colony will molt each day, a small improvement in the speed with which the bait kills and is shared among the colony can lead to much better results.

There are other control methods as well, but baits still remain one of the most effective options when it comes to completely taking out a colony. If you would like to find out more about termite treatments, baits, or how these control methods operate, contact us today and we will gladly explain it to you. You can also contact us with any of your pest control needs.

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